Oscar Mabuyane re-elected as Eastern Cape ANC chairperson.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Oscar Mabuyane has been re-elected at the chairperson of the African National Congress in the Eastern Cape.
Mabuyane and his former ally, Babalo Madikizela, went up against each other in an elective conference that was marred by claims of bogus delegates and manipulated membership.
He obtained 812 votes against 662 cast for his rival in a heavily contested election.
Mabuyane, a staunch supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa and mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe, will lead the Eastern Cape, the province that has traditionally sent the second-largest provincial delegation to the ANC’s national conference.
The boost for Ramaphosa comes days after the ANC's national executive committee decided to amend its rules to bar its members who are facing criminal charges from seeking election to party posts. One official who has been charged with two murders and another who is facing graft charges recently won senior positions in the ANC's regional structures.
A change will bolster Ramaphosa's efforts to clean up the ANC, whose reputation took a hammering during his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s scandal-marred rule. It could also sideline some of his political rivals, including the ANC’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule, who is facing trial on corruption charges.
Voting got underway early in the morning after an intense standoff on the credentials.
Mlungisi Mvoko was elected as the deputy chairperson.
Lulama Ngcukayitobi was re-elected as provincial secretary and Helen Sauls-August was also re-elected deputy secretary with 805 votes.
Meanwhile, Zolille Williams obtained 799 votes and was elected treasurer.
The results of the Eastern Cape Provincial Elective Conference were announced just before midday on Monday.
The conference saw a failed court bid and pandemonium about credentials, which determine who can participate and, as a result, vote for the leadership.
While the conference was meant to be wrapped up by Sunday evening, disputes and delays continued late into the night.
Conference delegates spent hours discussing credentials, with some aligned to Madikizela pushing for some branches to be excluded from proceedings.
Ramaphosa is expected to deliver a closing address around 3pm.
Ramaphosa, 69, has led the ANC since late 2017 and is widely expected to seek re-election in December, ensuring that he'll be the party's presidential candidate in a national vote scheduled for 2024.