Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is in the driving seat in Gauteng after the majority of ANC branches in the province rejected President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma’s ambitions to secure a second term in Mangaung were dealt a blow when most branches, in which senior party leaders aligned with him are members, snubbed the ANC leader.
In the past week, branches in which pro-Zuma ANC national executive committee (NEC) members and businessmen are involved have given Zuma the cold shoulder – despite allegations of patronage, threats and the use of money to buy votes in his favour.
Zuma is seeking re-election and Motlanthe is believed to be challenging him for the ANC presidency at the ruling party’s national elective conference next month.
The branches of Zuma adviser Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s alleged funders the Gupta brothers, former spy boss Moe Shaik, Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom and NEC member Billy Masetlha have all nominated Motlanthe.
SACP leader Blade Nzimande’s branch in Ward 88, Emmarentia, and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s branch in Kagiso on the West Rand were found not to be in good standing to be represented in Mangaung. Mokonyane and Nzimande will attend the conference as NEC members.
The outcome, which is potentially embarrassing to the Zuma camp, started on Sunday last week at Zulu’s branch in Ward 103, Sandton.
The dissent spread to the Saxonwold branch, where the Gupta brothers are members, before it reached Hanekom, Masetlha and Shaik’s branches.
“Zuma supporters and members of the NEC have been rejected by branches. They started with Gwede Mantashe in Boksburg, Derek Hanekom in Ward 66, Mo Shaik in Pretoria and Billy Masetlha in Soweto. Moe Shaik proposed the name of JZ in their meeting, but the members rejected it. They voted for Kgalema,” said a source.
ANC insiders in Gauteng said Motlanthe had received support from four out of its five regions. Only the Ekurhuleni region had voted for Zuma.
A total of 54 ANC branches in Ekurhuleni had voted for Zuma, while Motlanthe was supported by 21. The rest (17) of the 92 branches in good standing had yet to nominate.
In Tshwane, nine branches had voted for Zuma, while 59 had nominated Motlanthe.
Motlanthe had also got the nod from the Joburg region, where 50 branches nominated him against Zuma’s 34.
On the West Rand, 37 branches nominated Motlanthe to Zuma’s 28. In Sedibeng, Motlanthe got 20 branches and Zuma 17.
ANC branch members in Ekurhuleni have slammed their regional secretary, whose name is known to The Star. They accused him of having set up a co-ordinating team to disrupt every meeting where Motlanthe was supposed to have been nominated.
The members also alleged Christian “Dubula” Thunywa had been among people who intimidated branches to vote for Zuma. Thunywa, an Ekurhuleni metro member, denied the allegation.
ANC insiders also told The Star that their regional secretary was booked into an expensive hotel in Sandton. Insiders said his stay was allegedly being paid for by two cabinet ministers loyal to Zuma.
The regional secretary was also accused of giving some of the members money in exchange for them voting for Zuma.
The Ekurhuleni members also said they had informed the provincial ANC about the allegations against their regional secretary.
The official failed to respond to text messages and calls for comment.
The ANC Gauteng refused to comment on the allegations, but spokesman Dumisa Ntuli asked ANC members to refrain from exchanging cash for votes.
Meanwhile, the Thomas Nkobi branch near Spruitview, Ekurhuleni, whose nominations were marred by threats last Sunday, has since voted for Motlanthe.