It turned out to be the greatest humiliation for the ruling family in a long while. Edward Zuma‚ President Jacob Zuma’s eldest son‚ contested the branch chairman position in the Msholozi branch based in Nxamalala‚ the village that is home to his father’s controversial homestead.
But he lost out to rival Doctor Bhengu.
However‚ Zuma is not going down without a fight – he has now lodged a complaint about the outcome of the vote.
Despite this‚ the leadership of the ANC’s Musa Dladla region – under which the Msholozi branch falls – has ruled out the possibility of a re-run of the contested election‚ which could dash Zuma’s political ambition to the branch.
Edward‚ who is known for his spirited and controversial defence of his father‚ said that some of his supporters have raised issues connecting his father, as well as “constitutional issues” that resulted in him suffering the humiliating loss on his home turf.
The first branch meeting to elect the chairman had to be postponed after it descended into chaos because of a clash between the supporters of the two contestants. During a second vote‚ this time which went ahead‚ Zuma lost. After this loss‚ Zuma officially lodged a complaint about the outcome with the ANC’s regional leadership. His supporters‚ who probably thought he would be comfortably elected as chairman‚ have also voiced concerns about the outcome.
Zuma said while he accepted the process to elect the chairman‚ certain members had raised various issues with the regional leadership – “which is still to decide whether there should be a re-run of the meeting as there were some constitutional issues that were overlooked”.
“We are a very united branch of the ANC hence the contest is very much acceptable and healthy within the organisation. We don’t hate each other based on the outcomes of meetings‚” said Zuma.
Regional secretary Tholi Gwala denied that there were some constitutional issues that were overlooked by those who conducted the meeting.
However‚ he confirmed that a complaint had been lodged about the outcome‚ and insisted that it was not about the process.
“The only complaint was from him about the outcome. We are going to look into that but there won’t be any re-run‚” said Gwala.
Bhengu was coy about his victory‚ saying: “It all depends on who the people believe in. It’s about processes and numbers and that’s what counts. So the numbers counted against him.”