Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: THE TIMES
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: THE TIMES

THE African National Congress in Limpopo has nominated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace President Jacob Zuma as party leader at the party’s national elective conference in Mangaung.

After a tense two weeks, one abandoned nomination conference and an all-night wait, the electoral commission announced the results around midmorning on Thursday.

Mr Motlanthe trumped Mr Zuma by 268 votes to seven. ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa was nominated for the position of deputy president, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula for secretary-general, Thandi Modise for national chairwoman, Thenjiwe Mtintso for deputy secretary and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale for treasurer.

Voting got under way early on Thursday morning, after a day of wrangling between the provincial and national leadership over the registration of delegates on Wednesday.

Limpopo and the Western Cape were given extensions to conclude their nominations, after their first attempts were halted when violence erupted between supporters of Mr Zuma and Mr Motlanthe.

The Western Cape nomination results were announced early on Thursday morning, and the province nominated Mr Motlanthe for the top job.

Provincial nomination conferences were meant to be finalised by Friday, November 30, roughly two weeks before the ANC holds its national elective conference in Mangaung.

Late on Wednesday night in Limpopo, supporters who failed to register during the day were allowed to do so at yet another venue. This followed talks between the provincial leadership, who back Mr Motlanthe, and the party’s national leadership.

Registration proceeded through the night, but the process hit another snag early on Thursday morning when delegates disagreed on credentials.

Mr Zuma’s supporters wanted all the disputes resolved, particularly for the Waterberg region, before credentials could be adopted. They walked out of the gathering, which then proceeded without them.

The group then gathered outside and were not allowed back in.

On Wednesday there was a heavy police presence, at both the registration and conference venues, which snuffed out any chance of events turning violent. Security measures included checkpoints on the road leading to the venues and a command centre at the conference hall.

Dozens of delegates at the registration points wore T-shirts bearing the face of Mr Zuma and songs in his support blared from parked vehicles.

Early on Thursday morning, delegates and leaders appeared exhausted. The only remaining sign of a small clash between the police and Zuma supporters was broken glass on the street outside the venue.

Police remained on the watch as the gathering wound down, ahead of the results being announced.

ANC Limpopo secretary Soviet Lekganyane, who expressed confidence that the provincial executive committee’s preferred candidate, Mr Motlanthe, would be selected as the province’s preference for ANC president, was vindicated.