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CAPE TOWN — A block vote from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape could ensure victory for one of the factions in the ANC leadership vote that will take place at year end.
This appears from the latest audited ANC membership figures announced by President Jacob Zuma in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The two provinces have 45,8% of all ANC members — just more than the other seven provinces together.
While the figures change daily and will have to be finally audited later this year to determine the composition of the ANC conference delegates returning to the City of Roses in December, a big change in the balance of power is unlikely.
The figures are great news for President Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe, who, as leader and secretary-general respectively, face opposition from particularly the Youth League.
In 2007, 99% of the delegates from the largest province, KwaZulu-Natal, voted for Zuma, and this year’s figures won’t vary much (the remaining one percent were from the North Coast’s Stanger area and those members are now in Cope).
Zuma’s other block vote could come from Mpumalanga, now the sixth largest province, which boasts a strong Zulu-speaking majority on the highveld.
The Eastern Cape is Mantashe’s home province. He is originally from Cala, near Queenstown.
Some Eastern Cape ANC members said in Bloemfontein this weekend that two factors could count against Zuma and Mantashe respectively when the Eastern Cape delegation votes at the end of the year.
Zuma’s support is stronger in the province’s western area than in the Transkei.
For his part, Mantashe with his trade union background could become a victim of the race-oriented capitalists’ bitter struggle against the communists.
If the Youth League should succeed in nominating Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe as leadership candidate against Zuma, and sports minister Fikile Mbalula against Mantashe for secretary-general, the figures become interesting.
Motlanthe is originally from Gauteng, the fourth largest province, and Mbalula from the Free State, the fifth largest province.
It is uncertain whether Mbalula will be able to depend on the full Free State support, but Motlanthe has strong support in Gauteng, although Zuma also has some support, especially in the Zulu-speaking areas.
Motlanthe and Mbalula will also be able to depend on a small majority among Limpopo’s delegates, but support in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and North-West is uncertain.