Ramaphosa’s top six face court action
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as the new leader of the ANC and that of the party’s entire top six could be set aside and the election re-run – if an ANC Kwazulu-Natal leader gets his way.
The Sunday Independent can exclusively reveal that Ramaphosa and the newly elected top six as well as The EleXions Agency, which was contracted to facilitate and manage the ANC’s voting process, and one of its directors in her personal capacity, will be served with court papers this week by Vincent Myeni, Msunduzi subregion Ward 32 branch chairperson of KwaZulu-Natal’s Moses Mabhida region.
The Sunday Independent has also been reliably informed that a region in the North West which supported Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is also on the verge of taking legal action.
In his affidavit, which will be filed in the Pretoria High Court, Myeni is demanding that the court overturn the election of the ANC’s top six elected at the party’s 54th national conference last month, citing election manipulation, fraud and undeclared conflict of interest by one of The EleXions Agency’s directors.
Myeni claims the existence of an undeclared conflict on interest between the director, and the ANC official, known to The Sunday Independent, who was on Ramaphosa’s slate.
Myeni claims the woman and the ANC official have been involved in a long-running romantic relationship and have at least one child together.
Myeni says the scandalous nature of the relationship is not something he wishes to focus on.
He believes the information is merely being entered into the record on the basis that it represents a major conflict of interest that was not declared prior to the conference by either of the two.
However, contacted for a comment, the ANC official vehemently denied having a romantic affair with the agency’s director.
Through his spokesperson, the ANC leader said he did not know “that lady that well”.
The issue of him having fathered a child with her is totally out of question. He is highly perturbed that such a story could even emerge.
He views this as a malicious rumour from people who don’t want to accept the democratic outcome of the ANC’s elective conference.
In his papers, Myeni says his action is in the interests of fairness, justice and transparency, as well as a wish to restore and protect the reputation of the ANC. Myeni says the mood at grass-roots level in the party is increasingly one of dissatisfaction at the fact that a gross injustice was committed at the elective conference. He says unless this can be dealt with, it will only cause further unhappiness and fragmentation within the ANC.
Myeni maintains that bringing this application is in the best interests of the ANC while primarily remaining true to his own conviction that one simply cannot be silent in the face of brazen wrongdoing.
Myeni adds that he and his KZN provincial ANC comrades, including Premier Willies Mchunu, began to suspect there was a problem with the work of The EleXions Agency when branch nominations from KZN to the 54th conference were announced on December 4.
The agency’s director announced that 433 branches had nominated Dlamini Zuma for the presidency, but this had to be amended the next day in an announcement after provincial ANC members challenged the figures.
According to their own calculations, Dlamini Zuma should have had a stronger showing.
Mchunu reportedly said there was “something fishy” about the nomination numbers presented by the agency, and mandated a delegation to do an inspection with the election agency.
The Elexions Agency was forced to conduct a recount of votes after numbers did not add up.
KZN had nominated Dlamini Zuma for party president ahead of her closest rival, Ramaphosa. After the recount, Dlamini Zuma’s nominations rose to 454 and Ramaphosa’s dropped to 191.
Myeni says he was disturbed by this turn of events and asked himself what may have happened if ANC officials had not lodged a complaint and asked for a correction in their province. He believes the incorrect numbers would doubtless have been allowed to stand.
He says if similar such inaccuracies occurred in other provinces, the ultimate effect this would have had on nominations would be substantial.
Myeni believes the matter is serious enough to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the ANC’s current leadership – to the extent that any decisions taken by these leaders would have to be questioned until such time as the identified concerns have been dealt with.
Myeni maintains although nominations in and of themselves did not equal votes at conference, the impression that was created was that Ramaphosa was leading in overall nominations, and this had a powerful influence on perceptions.
He says if the agency was contributing to feeding such a perception that would be an abuse of its stated aim of supporting the practice of credible democratic processes.
He adds that the matter of how the credentials of voting delegates were adopted was a key issue at the heart of his legal challenge.
Myeni is adamant that the ANC was aware before and during its conference that it was taking decisions that would leave itself open to a later legal challenge.
He says the ANC acted primarily to prevent the conference from collapsing. He believes the primary reason that the conference did not collapse was that both slates – Dlamini Zuma and her five chosen top six running mates on the one hand and Ramaphosa and his slate on the other – appeared equally confident of victory. He adds that, in their confidence, they both appeared to be willing to overlook what should have been serious causes for concern.
Myeni also raises the issue of the numbers of voting delegates which he says dropped from an initial 5186 to 4776.
He says most of these losses were as a result of three court judgments that disqualified a number of delegates from the Free State KZN and North West’s Bojanala region after their respective provincial and regional conferences, as well as branch general meetings, were found to have been improperly constituted.
Myeni says in the spirit of compromise, a final tally of 4776 voting delegates was agreed on by both sides. He says what is of most concern and of central importance to his legal challenge is not merely the fact that 410 delegates were not given voting status. He says it is the far more important consideration that even after it was agreed that exactly 4776 delegates would be given the right to vote, a number of irregularities later emerged regarding the 4776 voting delegates that draw into question the entire basis on which credentials were adopted in the first place and how the voters roll was initially drawn up.
Myeni says his concern finds expression in the much-publicised case of the 68 “quarantined” votes, a matter that has still not been adequately explained by either The Elexions Agency or the ANC itself.
Myeni says the fact that this matter remains something of a mystery, with no official statement being made, points to the fact that it remains an open wound.
He is convinced that a “political solution” of some form or another was found for at least one senior ANC member, Senzo Mchunu, and his supporters regarding the 68 votes.
Myeni says this was presumably done on the basis that he was supposedly the only party negatively affected by any irregularities.
He says the “political solution” cannot wish away the fact that indefensible actions and decisions were taken during the elective conference that continue to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election result.
He says a closer analysis of what actually happened with the 68 votes compels him to conclude that it was not only Mchunu in his ambition to become ANC secretary-general that was frustrated. He says it points to the fact that, due to the haste to conclude the agreement on voting credentials as well as the election itself, the entire elective process became severely flawed.
He says, as a result, the outcome as a whole – and not just of the secretary-general – cannot be viewed as a reliable expression of the will of the ANC’s more than 1million members.
Myeni concludes that a re-run of the party’s election of its leaders should be taken in order for the party’s members, voters and society at large to have confidence in the mandate of those who occupy the most influential seats of power in South Africa at a party-political level.