Between midnight and sunrise five provinces cast their votes for the top leadership of the ANC, and top leaders were nailing their colours to the mast.
“Voted for @DPRamaphosa and other five incorruptible leaders @MYANC Conference. My vote is to save @MYANC and my country .
We must !!” tweeted the party’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu.
— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) December 18, 2017
Party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was of a similar mind.
“Am casting my vote for comrade Ramaphosa for ANC President, whatever happens I trust he will restore confidence and inspire hope, it’s early hours but it’s worth waiting #ANC54,” he tweeted.
Am casting my vote for comrade Ramaphosa for ANC President, whatever happens I trust he will restore confidence and inspire hope, it’s early hours but it’s worth waiting #ANC54
— Zizi Kodwa (@zizikodwa) December 18, 2017
But the Ramaphosa camp was not having it all its own way.
“JUST voted for the mother princess NDZ #HistoryBeckons Dedication to all women #womenpower Malibongwe!!!” tweeted police minister Fikile Mbalula.
— RSA Minister of Police (@MbalulaFikile) December 18, 2017
Voting rules barred delegates from taking cellphones and even watches (smart or otherwise) with them as they voted, to prevent a rerun of the party’s Polokwane conference in 2007 where some members took pictures of their ballots, allegedly to secure payment for their votes.
However, there was no restriction on announcing votes after the fact.
By 8AM KwaZulu-Natal delegates were well into casting their ballots, but still outstanding were votes from Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, and Limpopo.
According to a draft programme all of the some 5,000 votes were to be counted during the course of the morning, with an announcement on the winners due late morning or early afternoon.
In the meanwhile the business of the conference was due to go ahead, with the delivery of an organisational report and discussions on finance, even as delegates were literally asleep in their chairs.