Vote-buying a problem ahead of ANC conference

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About 8,000 ANC volunteers in KwaThema, near Springs, and more than 5,000 in Ratanda, Heidelberg, went campaigning on Sunday morning.

JOHANNESBURG - Rival factions of the ANC have accused each other of buying votes ahead of the party&39;s national elective conference at the weekend.

Rival NEC members Jackson Mthembu, who supports Cyril Ramaphosa for president,  and Fikile Mbalula, who backs Nkosazana-Dlamini, have said money is being used to influence delegates.

Other senior members agree money is influencing the conference.

The party&39;s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, says ANC branches are being bought.

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Mcebisi Ndletyana, a political analyst, says money is central, "not only in influencing how people vote at conference but in the creation of branches themselves".

"So one is not surprised that you will have people getting money at a conference because money is consistent and features prominently in how ANC branches are kept alive, and this is not really for the health of the organisation."

Ndletyana says the ANC has been struggling to deal with vote-buying for years.

The party has banned delegates from carrying cellphones into voting booths to stop them from taking pictures of their vote.

“The idea that phones are not allowed means that there is no way that your funder can prove that you didn’t vote as per instruction, so even if people take the money, there is no obligation on their part to follow the instruction of the funder. They can still exercise their conscience,” says Ndletyana.

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ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says the party is watching delegates closely this year.

“There are people from all sides that we are already following in terms of the allegations and we hope that if they come here they must know that it&39;s  maybe the end of their membership of the ANC. We will not hesitate to take disciplinary measures against all those members,” says Kodwa.

The ANC admits that allegations of vote-buying surrounded its Polokwane conference in 2007.

Ten years later, and three days before the next conference, the same problems are back to plague the party.