South Africa's ANC Delays Start of Elective Conference

Updated on
  • Ruling party still registering delegates, Mantashe says
  • Delegates from 50 branches, some provicial leaders won’t vote

Gwede Mantashe speaks at a news conference during the 54th national conference of the African National Congress party (ANC) in Johannesburg on Dec. 16.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s ruling party announced a five-hour delay to the start of its elective conference on Saturday to enable it to complete the process of registering about 5,000 voting delegates.

The conference will now get under way at the Nasrec exhibition center in Johannesburg at 2 p.m., Gwede Mantashe, the ANC’s outgoing secretary-general, told reporters. The party’s National Executive Committee had decided that delegates from 50 ANC branches in the North West and Free State and the party leaders from the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces, whose election was declared invalid in court rulings on Friday, won’t be allowed to vote for the ANC’s new leadership, he said. 

Read about the court rulings on ANC branches and provincial leaders

The ANC “doesn’t want to do anything to contaminate the conference,” Mantashe said.

Most of the disqualified delegates support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over as the party’s leader, and the exclusion from the vote is a blow to her hopes of succeeding her ex-husband President Jacob Zuma. Her main rival for the post is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The race to win the support of the delegates at the weekend’s conference has caused deep rifts in the ANC, weighed on the rand and nation’s bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity. The currency has strengthened in recent days on confidence that Ramaphosa is leading the race.

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