Inside the ANC election process

Take a look at the process leading up to the ANC's national conference and what we can expect at the event to elect the party's new leadership.

Picture: Supplied

The Africa National Congress (ANC) will elect new leaders at the party’s 54th national conference set to take place at Nasrec in Johannesburg from 16 to 20 December.

The leadership positions to be voted upon include president, deputy president, secretary general, deputy secretary general, treasurer general, national chairperson and the national executive committee (NEC).


STEP 1 Branch members are audited to ascertain whether are they paid up and in good standing.

STEP 2 Branch general meetings (BGMs) must have a branch nomination meeting, which requires at least 50 plus 1 out of a branch of 100.

STEP 3 They nominate those they want in the top 6. If more than one person is nominated for a position, the chair calls for a vote and the winner becomes the official nomination of the branch. These elections cannot take place without a member of the provincial executive committee (PEC) or regional committee being present, to oversees the process.

STEP 4 Copies of the results are put into three different envelopes. One is posted to Luthuli House. The second is sent to the PEC and the third kept with the branch chairperson. The ANC nominates an independent electoral agency to oversee the entire process. The current contract is held by The EleXions Agency which oversaw the 2007 and 2012 ANC elections.

STEP 5 The envelopes are opened at the provincial general council (PGC) which is held by every province. For a candidate to make it onto the ballot they need to be nominated by a province. Candidates can also be nominated from the floor at the national conference, but need at least 25% of the delegates for this to pass.

WATCH: ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte outlines the branch nominations process


Cyril Ramaphosa has a lead going into the conference, with a lead of 500 branch delegates over Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

How the ANC branches voted

With less than two weeks to go before the ANC elects a new leadership, the votes are in and Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the race with 1,861 branch nominations, compared to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma's 1,309.

So based on these figures, why can’t we say Ramaphosa is going to win?

This is where it gets complicated. Not all branches are the same. Larger branches get more delegates based on the formula the NEC has worked out. It means we do not know the final numbers coming in from the branches.

This is especially so when it comes to the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga as we have no idea how many have two or more delegates coming from these provinces.

Also, the branches are not the only entities allowed to vote at the conference.

The ANC Women’s League, the ANC Youth League and the ANC Veterans League each get 60 votes.

Each PGC gets 27 votes and all NEC members (86 in total) get a vote as well. (At the time of publishing there were legal disputes around the credibility of the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State PECs).


STEP 6 Credentials, credentials, credentials

Each province gets to see how many delegates pass the muster of all the checks and balances.

The accreditation process is done in the provinces, not at Nasrec.

Each voting delegate gets his/her accreditation in their home province.

Each accreditation card will be numbered and linked to the home branch of the delegate.

The accredited delegates travel to Nasrec where the accreditation is verified and registered at the venue.

Alternate delegates are limited to 2% of each province. Alternate delegates are only allowed in the event of illness or bereavement of a close family member.

This process will take place on the evening of Friday 15 December.

STEP 7 Constitutional amendments

Before the vote for president takes place, the ANC must vote on constitutional amendments.

Contesting slates have different priorities.

If the top 6 gets expanded it could be perceived to be the Dlamini Zuma and the unity ticket being in the ascendency.

STEP 8 The election

The process is divided into three separate elections:

  • 16 December 2017: The positions of president, secretary general, treasurer general and national chairperson are elected in one go.

  • 17 December 2017: The positions of deputy president and deputy secretary general are elected. These positions can be nominated from the floor at the conference, this is only if they receive 25% of the vote.

  • 18 December: Election of the NEC.


The announcement of those elected to the party’s ANC leadership will be announced in stages.

The positions for the new ANC president, national chairperson, secretary general and treasurer general are set to be announced on the evening of Sunday 17 December.

On the evening of Monday 18 December the new deputy president and deputy secretary general will be announced.

Finally, the new NEC is set to be announced on the morning of Wednesday 20 December.

Lance Claasen is 702’s project manager for the 2017 ANC national conference.