Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has accused the African National Congress's (ANC's) election committee of "blatantly ignoring rules" and disadvantaging her candidacy for party president.
In a letter addressed to the party's electoral committee chairperson, Kgalema Motlanthe, she lodged a dispute in which she bemoaned her exclusion from the top six nominations.
Her main bone of contention is that she met the 25% threshold of support she requires for nomination, but that her name was excluded.
"My team, therefore, requested to know what happened to those nominations, or maybe your committee can provide us with raw data because we can help your committee and produce them for your benefit as and when such information is required from our side," she said in the letter.
According to Sisulu, who launched a campaign to run against President Cyril Ramaphosa, her team filed all their nominations from branch general meetings across the country with the suspicion in mind that they could be lost in the pipeline.
"Our suspicions are confirmed. We are more than ready and prepared to come and present to your committee with all our nominations from the branches that nominated us," she added.
Sisulu also claimed that there was a violation of Rule 8.4, which states that the electoral committee will publish a list of the top three nominees for each of the official positions. This was the case with the nominations for the treasurer-general and secretary-general positions.
"In the position of president, the committee under your esteemed leadership, published only two names, that of Comrades Cyril Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize, and thus have excluded our candidature, despite meeting the 25% threshold of support from the branches," she said.
Sisulu added that at the national elective conference in December, the first ballot will contain the top three nominees for the positions of president, secretary-general, national chairperson, and treasurer-general, with each position on a separate page.
"We hereby request to be furnished with reasons as to why, in the instance of the Presidency nomination, distinct from all other [branch nominations], only two nominees for the position of president were publicly announced, when the rules require the publication of the top three nominees for each of the official positions. In some categories, other candidates qualified with a mere 300 plus nominations and their names are there," she said.
Sisulu claimed the committee's practices were unjust and that the processes and outcomes were rendered biased.
"Our competitors are unilaterally promoted at the expense of rules and the choice of branches that entrusted in us such nomination. It would appear the rules were bent or blatantly, if not deliberately, ignored to treat our candidacy at a disadvantage," she added.
Sisulu implored the committee to consistently and faithfully enforce the rules to ensure a credible, transparent and lawful conference.
"We stand ready, willing and able to provide you with records supporting our argument that we have met and exceeded the threshold. We have collected affidavits and records from branches that nominated us and we stand ready to assist you in this regard," she said.
The committee is expected to consider Sisulu's complaint.