NEWSFLASH

Blowback: ANC lists don’t make it through special leaders’ meeting

By Ferial Haffajee 2 April 2019
Caption
Ace Magashule, Secretary General of the ANC, attends the party's special NEC meeting in Irene, Gauteng on Monday 1 April, 2019. Photo: Foto: Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24/(Gallo)

The ANC’s electoral lists did not get through a special national executive committee meeting unscathed.

The ANC party lists have been referred to the party’s tough Integrity Commission for review after significant debate in a special NEC meeting held on Monday. 

The Commission, headed by party veteran George Mashamba and eight other decorated elders of the party, are known to be unhappy with high profile but controversial politicians on it.

The ANC’s lists were the subject of massive debate in the special NEC meeting and have been referred to the Integrity Commission to ensure fairness and allegiance and respect for the rules of natural justice which is interpreted as the right to be heard. 

The ANC NEC heard complaints that only “targeted” ANC leaders faced scrutiny like Environment Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Minister of Women Bathabile Dlamini. They complained that others like Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe (named serially in the Bosasa revelations at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry), President Cyril Ramaphosa (presumably through the business shenanigans of his son Andile) and deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele (who faced whistle-blower scrutiny for his stewardship of the Public Investment Corporation) were left unscathed.  

We want an honest review, not a factional one as was used by Cheryl (Carolus’s) outburst,” said an NEC member who does not want to be named. 

The ANC Elders, a loose grouping led by Cheryl Carolus, as well as the party’s Veterans League led by Snuki Zikalala, have led the public fight against the lists which featured a number of Cabinet ministers and other leaders who are at the centre of the state capture narrative and linked to the two major patronage networks run by Bosasa and by the Gupta family.  

Carolus and The Elders are regarded as a faction of Ramaphosa and came in for heated criticism at the Special NEC meeting.  Their critique of the lists has garnered a lot of attention and publicity. 

The meeting also heard representations that the Electoral Act, which governs the elections, does not exclude people who have been named at commissions of inquiry where accusations are yet to be tested. 

Accounts of the party’s special NEC meeting on Monday and Tuesday suggests there was blowback against the lists. 

In a statement issued after the meeting, the ANC “dismissed the unfounded allegations that lists were tampered with.  The process to arrive at the final lists submitted to the IEC went through a democratic, rigorous, thorough and fair process, involving ANC branches, provinces, and Alliance partners, unparalleled by any other political party in this country. This process was guided by strict List Guidelines, adopted in May 2018 by the NEC”.

However, the statement went on to say that the party had “listened to the people when they said our public representative candidates must reflect this spirit of renewal and integrity.  As a further measure, therefore, the NEC has referred its lists in their totality to its Integrity Commission for review.  The lists will be reviewed under three sets of considerations: its list guidelines, the rules of natural justice and the 54th conference resolutions which set a very high bar for candidate selection into party and state positions”.

The rules of natural justice mean that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law – this is the position of secretary-general Ace Magashule and one which dominated under former president Jacob Zuma. The ANC meeting also interpreted it as a right to be heard. 

The referral to the Integrity Commission can be read as a defeat for Magashule who has defended the existing lists and said that any candidates on them had not been found guilty in court and therefore were legitimately included. 

While the ANC is running its 2019 national campaign as one against corruption and for party reform, many leaders who are at the centre of the project of State Capture are high on the party’s lists. 

These include three Cabinet ministers: Mokonyane who is alleged to have received bribes in cash, alcohol and braai meat from Bosasa; Mantashe who had three security systems installed and paid for by Bosasa; and Minister of Women, Dlamini who perjured herself according to a Constitutional Court judgment in the course of the grant payment scandal involving the payment agency Sassa and Net1/Cash Paymaster Services.

Numerous other party cadres who were front and centre in the era of State Capture have made it on to electable positions on the party’s lists and in the top 25% of the lists which are regarded as inviolable as they are an expression of pure party grassroots democracy.

We received 800 nominations from branches. As per its list guidelines, the top 25% of the available seats in Parliament and provincial legislatures remained as nominated by branches and elected at various list conferences,” said the ANC statement.

Magashule has, until now, been the face of the defence of the lists. He has maintained that the lists cannot be changed as the individuals who made the final cut had not been charged or convicted for any crimes. Individuals who had been charged or convicted had been or were being taken off the lists.  

At the Nasrec conference, the ANC noted: “An increase in corruption, factionalism, dishonesty and other negative practices that seriously threaten the goals and support of the ANC.” 

It said that “…the lack of integrity perceived by the public, has seriously damaged the ANC image, the people’s trust in the ANC, our ability to occupy the moral high ground, and our position as leader of society,” reads the ANC resolution.

The party made 11 resolutions to insulate its elections, at both the level of party and state, from corruption.  

It resolved to “Strengthen our understanding of our values, ethics and morality and the demands that the people, the Constitution and the rule of law place on us as the guardians of the state and its resources…”. 

The party resolved that it would “demand that every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediately faces a DC (disciplinary committee) process”.  The party vowed to “summarily suspend people who fail to give an accountable explanation or to voluntarily step down, while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures”.

Instead of sticking to the ANC resolutions, Magashule publicly disavowed them when he handed in the party lists and faced tough scrutiny at the IEC headquarters earlier this month.  

He lowered the bar back down to that practised in the era of ANC president Jacob Zuma where the standard became that errant cadres would only face a party axe if they were found guilty in court. DM

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