Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp is deeply divided by the dispute over Senzo Mchunu’s defeat.
A leader from a province that supported Mchunu has dismissed the dispute lodged over 63 "non-existent" votes, and has urged the rest of the Ramapahosa team to accept that Ace Magashule is the new secretary general.
"We must move on, we were not successful. We shouldn’t fight over the outcome and risk creating chaos, and have uncertainty in the party and the ANC," he said.
This could collapse the conference, the worried leader, who did not want to be identified, said.
The ANC’s elective conference’s steering committee met on Tuesday morning over the dispute and it is now expected that the matter will be discussed at the next plenary session.
News24 has seen a video of the Ramaphosa caucus meeting on Tuesday morning, showing a leader that appears to be Gauteng ANC deputy chairperson David Makhura telling gathered delegates to fight over the matter when it is discussed in plenary.
If not resolved, the issue could delay the voting for 80 members of the party’s all powerful national executive committee (NEC), expected to be done on Tuesday.
"We know that if that matter is not resolved, even when they go to vote for additional (members of the NEC), they will be disenfranchised, and that is not good," the leader, holding a loud hailer, is heard saying.
Some senior Gauteng ANC members have said the leader is Makhura, who is now standing in for provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile, after he won the treasurer general position.
The leader tells the crowd that Monday’s results were announced before the steering committee had resolved on whether the delegates were valid or not, and that the final tally did not include the votes that were quarantined in an envelope.
The speaker claims that five provinces behind Ramaphosa had raised the matter in the steering committee.
Mchunu's supporters lodged a dispute, demanding that the 63 "quarantined" votes be added to the final tally. However, speaking against the move, another source said that the votes were from disqualified delegates who had been thrown out of the conference after they had already been given accreditation cards.
"They were not on the voters' roll because they were disqualified. When the verification process threw them out, they had already received their tags, but they refused to return them," the source said.
He added that the independent election agency managing the process had allowed them to vote because they had insisted, despite not appearing on the voters' roll. However, they had then been excluded from the final count because they were "illegally" at the conference.
'Certain things, you have to accept'
He said the initial figure of 68 mentioned referred to delegates who did not turn up for the overall vote. The ANC had accredited 4 776, but only 4708 voted.
Magashule won 2 360 votes, while Mchunu received 2 336.
The Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma camp that lost the presidency has threatened that, if a recount of the secretary general position is allowed, they will insist on a rerun of the election for the entire top 6.
North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo told News24’s Polotiki that the dispute risked damaging the image of the party.
"Certain things, you have to accept, to live with in the ANC, even if you are not happy or uncomfortable with certain positions," said Mahumapelo.
There is worry in the Ramaphosa camp that his presidency will be weak, after the Dlamini-Zuma camp scored three critical positions of deputy president, secretary general and deputy secretary general.
The camp is hoping to win a majority in the vote for the NEC, to ensure control of the body.