The second last day of the ANC's elective conference is looks set to be a humdinger, with the Ramaphosa campaign questioning the election result for the position of secretary-general.
Ace Magashule, the long-serving and controversial chairperson of the ANC in the Free State, beat Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's preferred candidate Senzo Mchunu by 24 votes. The Ramaphosa campaign wants the steering committee, the body in charge of the conference, to ask the electoral commission to explain what happened to 68 votes that were cast in the election but that seemingly was not included in the final tally. The only race where it will make a difference is with secretary-general.
IS IT ACE OR SENZO?
Confusion reigned during the announcement when election officer Bontle Mpakanyane read the result for secretary-general and Senzo Mchunu's supporters carried him to the stage believing he had won, only for Magashule to come out on top. It is believed that, when his supporters heard Magashule's number announced first, they did the math and thought their man to have won.
Magashule was, however, ushered onstage with a lost Mchunu, a close ally of Ramaphosa, who helped him establish a foothold in KwaZulu-Natal, left stranded. He did, however, go on stage to talk to Mpakanyane, and looked upset when he returned to his provincial delegation.
WHAT DID ACE AND MAHLOBO TALK TO JZ ABOUT?
Shortly before the results were announced, President Jacob Zuma suddenly left the stage where he was sitting next to Ramaphosa, reappaering a few minutes later.
While he was sitting Magashule and David Mahlobo, Zuma's former minister of state security and a favourite henchman, approached him and proceeded to talk animatedly for a number of minutes.
Magashule did most of the talking, with Mahlobo leaning in and listening attentively. After much gesticulating, Magashule concluded whatever message he wanted to convey.
According to some insiders it seems that Gauteng alerted the electorial commission to the fact that 68 voting delegates were not consolidated as part of the general voters' roll. It is unclear why. The province's observers requested Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary-general, to regularise the voters' status so that the votes will count, to which she agreed. It now seems that it was never done.
Things might be coming apart at the seams.