The case of the ANC’s missing votes – why it’s important

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 20: Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu testifies during the Moerane Commission of inquiry into political killings in the province on September 20, 2017 in Durban, South Africa. Mchunu, who was fired as premier after losing the November 2015 elective conference to current chairperson Sihle Zikalala, made explosive disclosures into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Jackie Clausen)

Johannesburg – A steering committee of the ANC is currently in negotiations with senior members of the party about 60 odd votes that were not reckoned into the final tally for the party’s top six positions.

This comes after Senzo Mchunu from KwaZulu-Natal, who lost the election for the position of ANC secretary general by 24 votes to Free State premier Ace Magashule, challenged the final outcome based on information that emerged that the votes in question had not been counted.

While the ANC has not made an official statement regarding the impasse, what is known is that 63 or 68 delegates (still unconfirmed) went to the voting booth with their IDs and accreditation tags to vote for the top six, but their names didn’t appear on the voter’s roll.

The voter’s roll had the names of all the legitimate delegates that were allowed to vote at the conference. It excluded the names of all the people who were prevented from voting by the various court cases.

The 63 or 68 delegates were allowed to vote, but their ballots were then kept separately so that the EleXion Agency, who is administrating the election, could check later why their names weren’t on the voter’s roll.

These ballots were ultimately excluded from the final tally of votes when the results were announced, which means that somewhere a decision was made not to include them.

Mchunu, having lost by such a small margin, then queried this decision with the EleXion Agency and the ANC’s electoral commission and a steering committee was appointed to investigate and manage the situation.

Some sources say that Mchunu has threatened with court action, but that a political solution is being sought to allow the voting for the national executive commission (NEC) to go ahead and to avoid a total collapse of the conference. They are currently negotiating, while voting for the NEC is going ahead.

The position of secretary general is crucial as this is the person who effectively manages Luthuli House and the ANC. Magashule, who is a known ally of President Jacob Zuma, won this election with 2360 votes against Mchunu’s 2336, the latter having been on Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate.

(Photo credit: Gallo Images / The Times / Jackie Clausen)