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Cablegate: Anc Succession - Zuma Leads in Provincial Council

VZCZCXRO9844
PP RUEHDU
DE RUEHSA #4088 3340748
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300748Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2843
INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 5115
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 9404
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0472
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PRETORIA 004088

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR SF
SUBJECT: ANC SUCCESSION - ZUMA LEADS IN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL
NOMINATIONS

REF: A. PRETORIA 3764
B. PRETORIA 3816
C. PRETORIA 3939

1. (SBU) Press reports indicate that ruling African National
Congress (ANC) Deputy President Jacob Zuma won ANC
presidential nominations in five of the nine Provincial
General Councils (PGCs) held this past weekend, losing by
only a small margin in several of the others. Multiple
sources report Zuma topping the nomination list in his home
province of KwaZulu-Natal, as expected, plus the provinces of
Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Free State. President
Thabo Mbeki topped the list in his home province of Eastern
Cape, plus North West, Western Cape, and Limpopo.

2. (SBU) In another surprise, the ANC Women's League also
endorsed Zuma's candidacy in a 29-25 vote late on 26
November, following ten hours of debate. The ANC Youth
League has long endorsed Zuma's presidential candidacy. The
South African Communist Party (SACP) and the COSATU trade
union federation continue to strongly endorse Zuma, though
they will not have voting delegates at Polokwane. However,
as members of the tripartite governing alliance, SACP/COSATU
will send a 25-member, non-voting delegation to the
conference, which will provide them with a platform for
influence in pre-election candidate selection debates.

3. (SBU) Based on what is known about allocation of voting
delegates attending the ANC national conference in Polokwane
December 16-20 (Ref B), the provincial and league results
appear to give Zuma a slight edge. His five provinces plus
the leagues represent 2116 of the 4075 total delegates.
Mbeki's four provinces account for 1893 of the remaining
delegates, while the votes of the 60 NEC members and the six
current ANC leadership positions remain a wild card.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: This is a somewhat stronger showing for
Zuma than was expected by most analysts heading into the
PGCs, and the results have gained him considerable positive
press. However, these results are more indicative than
predictive. This is the first post-apartheid ANC vote where
a clear consensus on succession has not been achieved in
advance. Party election officers are still negotiating the
framework for election procedures in this climate. There is
no guarantee that each candidate will receive the votes of
all branch and provincial delegates from the provinces that
supported them this past weekend. Most provincial nomination
races were close. Delegates will "vote their conscience" by
secret ballot in Polokwane. Delegates are not formally bound

SIPDIS
by their branch or provincial positions and may have
competing loyalties and/or personal interests. The horse
trading, promises, inducements, threats and influence
peddling that is expected will likely lead to more
unpredictable results. Zuma is heading into the national
conference with good momentum, but it is still a very tight
race and anything could happen on the floor at Polokwane.
Zuma's decision to travel to India, England and the U.S. at
this time will take him out of the fray for about one week,
which may prove a tactical error as President Mbeki's
organization will be pulling out all of the stops.
BOST

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