Jean-Jacques Cornish

ANC hours away from naming its new leader

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is hours away from announcing its president to lead the party into elections in 2019.

Voting was postponed last night  and will be resumed this morning (Monday) in the bitterly divided contest between businessman and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and outgoing President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma remains too close to call.

On the face of it, Cyril Ramaphosa has the support of enough branches of the African National Congress to win the leadership contest comfortably.

Of the 4731 delegates voting,  2941 have been mandated by their branches to support him.

However delegates customarily make personal decisions when in the voting booth.

There are fears some have been bribed.

So Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma cannot being written off.

The delay in agreeing on credentials meant conference got down to the nuts and bolts of voting more than a day late.

Delegates rejected a call to reduce the  the size of the  national executive from 80 to 60.

Similarly they threw out a proposal to increase the size of the party’s top leadership from six to seven.

Conference still has to hear  messages of support from the South African Communist Party and the Congress of  South African Trade Unions who are the ANC’s partners in the so-called triple alliance.

Zuma made withering attacks on these allies in his swan song speech to the conference on Saturday.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.