The issue of the 68 missing votes that are in question with regards to the position Ace Magashule now occupies as the ANC’s Secretary General (SG) is a political one and can be solved within the ranks of the party.
This is according to political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, who said that it would be better for the party to resolve it internally as taking it to court could mean that the legitimacy of all the other positions in the ANC’s top six will also be called into question.
“Once the matter goes to court, it will be hard for the party to contain it to only those 68 votes. They’re going to have to go back to all the contests regarding those 68 votes, the delegations, all those court decisions that had been taken at a lower level before the conference will be brought up.
“I think taking it to court is a bad idea. As much as the SG is highly compromised, this is the ANC’s problem. It will now need to manage Magashule as well as others who are compromised in their positions,” Mathekga added.
Furthermore, he said, the matter of the missing votes is mainly relevant to the SG position, where the margins between Magashule and his contender for the position, Senzo Mchunu, were tight, however, in other positions where winning margins were higher, the votes are not relevant.
“One thing that you need to get clear, is that where the margins are higher, those 68 votes will not make a difference. They matter a lot to this position of the secretary-general because it was won by a margin of 24 votes. What that means is that it only matters to that point.
All the other margins are over a hundred, so if you put these votes in those positions, the margins will be reduced, yes, but the winners will remain winners… In this position, the votes matter because had Senzo Mchunu received 13 more votes, he would have won,” Mathekga explained.
He also cautioned that it is important to note that the matter pertains to “votes” rather than “voters” and says if it was the former rather than the latter, other positions would need to be called into question as this would mean that this matter of missing votes applied to other positions as well.
However, because it’s the latter, it only applies to Magashule’s position.
Responding to whether he believed that the position is also hotly contested because it was won by Magashule, who is perceived by the public as a corrupt politician owing to the number of scandals he has been implicated to in the Free State, Mathekga said the public’s perception of Magashule indeed has a role to play in the matter.
“The perception is something we as South Africans have.
I can put it on the record that I do have a problem with Ace. His character is highly questionable as a person but the ANC cannot tell us that they have just woken up to the news that Ace is controversial. They’ve known him all along.
“The reality is that he still even managed to get over 2 000 votes. We can say what we say but the ANC needs to own up to its own and stop playing games with us,” Mathekga concluded.
The ANC has since reported that a recount on the votes has been done right and Magashule retains his position as the SG.
Whether disgruntled members of the party who are unhappy with the decision will challenge it in court, remains to be seen.