Johannesburg - A showdown is looming in Mangaung between the Limpopo ANC and Luthuli House, after the latter registered President Jacob Zuma’s supporters who have been dismissed by the former as “bogus” delegates.
The registration took place on Wednesday, a day after they unsuccessfully tried to do so at a lodge in Mokopane, 60km south of Polokwane.
The delegates, mainly from the Waterberg region, a Zuma stronghold in a province which largely supports Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, registered at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters in Joburg, a week after the Limpopo ANC denounced them as “illegitimate delegates”.
However, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe still refuses to entertain similar complaints from some North West delegates.
They proceeded with a Mafikeng High Court interdict to prevent “bogus” delegates from representing the province in Mangaung.
The registration of disgruntled Limpopo delegates came after the provincial nomination conference was marred by boycotts, chaos, a hostage drama, and allegations of vote rigging and bogus delegates.
Those affected included Young Communist League secretary and ANC MP Buti Manamela and former ANC Youth League Limpopo chairman Lehlogonolo Masoga.
But Limpopo ANC secretary Soviet Lekganyane described the group’s registration by Luthuli House as a “farce”, saying the delegates remained illegitimate as far as the provincial leadership was concerned.
“What criteria are they using (at Luthuli House) to determine who is the right delegate and who is bogus? This whole thing is a farce.”
He said they were going to denounce those registered by Luthuli House in Mangaung. “There are going to be problems with credentials in Mangaung because we won’t allow bogus delegates. We’ll reject them at the registration point,” he said.
But the Waterberg delegates accused Lekganyane and the provincial executive committee (PEC) of having excluded them from the conference in order to steal the election.
The group boycotted the conference that endorsed Motlanthe as a preferred candidate to replace Zuma as ANC president.
They accused the PEC of having replaced legitimate delegates with rented crowds mandated to vote for Motlanthe.
Manamela said he was excluded even though his branch had nominated him as a delegate.
He could not register although the party’s dispute-resolution committee had ruled in his favour, he added.
“It was not explained to us why we could not register, and we were then told to come and register at Luthuli House,” he said.
Waterberg regional chairman Morris mataboge said he was also excluded from the nomination conference, where “none of the branches which endorse Motlanthe were affected”.
“The nomination conference continued with bogus delegates, and we were excluded once again when we went to register, until we were advised to go register at Luthuli House.”
Aaron Sebolai, a Waterberg region executive committee member, said their registration showed that they were indeed legitimate delegates. He said the provincial general council that nominated Motlanthe was not a true reflection of the will of ANC members in Limpopo.
“It was a desperate attempt by the PEC to make sure their pronouncement (support for Motlanthe) sees the light.”
But Lekganyane said: “It’s unwarranted for them to go register at head office. They’re registering against a dispute (emanating from the elective conference) which is yet to be resolved”.
“The list used to register at Luthuli House is not the list recognised by the PEC. We’re dealing with lists that are not matching here and there.”
Lekganyane said some comrades who were absent from the nomination conference had been passed off as elected delegates, which he said was unconstitutional.
In North West, disgruntled delegates who accused senior ANC leaders of having rigged their nomination conference in Zuma’s favour have vowed to fight till the end.
Xolile Nqume said: “We’d rather have no branch representation in Mangaung rather than be represented by bogus delegates from parallel branches. The constitution of the ANC dictates that all provinces must be represented, and we believe that we’d be represented by the provincial executive committee as voting delegates.”
The North West ANC has expressed shock at the decision to take the ruling party to court. Provincial spokesman Kenny Morolong said this was part of continued efforts to discredit the outcomes of the provincial nomination conference, and possibly Mangaung.
“This desperation to project our province in a bad light and create an impression of an endemic crisis situation will not deter the delegates duly mandated by branches to exercise their right to participate in the re-election of President Jacob Zuma.”