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Showdown looms over ANC’s poll lists after Chief Justice Zondo enters the fray

Showdown looms over ANC’s poll lists after Chief Justice Zondo enters the fray
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and former chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. (Photo: Veli Nhlapo) | ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele)

A battle in the ANC over whether to give an election thumbs-down to cadres implicated in corruption and misconduct is likely to come to a head on Monday, 4 March.

On Monday morning, the ANC top brass meet at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg to finalise the party’s election lists. A battle — that cuts across the ANC’s factions and leagues — about corruption and who gets on to the election lists is roiling the party.

At the weekend, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was drawn into the fray when he denied a City Press report which claimed that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe had successfully challenged the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. (The commission recommended further investigations into Mantashe related to security installations by Bosasa, the facilities management and catering company at the heart of South Africa’s story of corruption.)

Mantashe said City Press had not contacted him before publication and confirmed the courts had yet to hear his review. 

Zondo said: “The statement in the City Press that Minister Mantashe successfully challenged the State Capture Commission report is simply not true. The City Press failed to do a basic investigation on this. The true position is that Minister Mantashe’s review application is still pending and has not yet been decided. In fact, no review application against the commission’s report has been decided.”

It has been reported that the ANC’s Integrity Commission, chaired by the Rev Frank Chikane, has recommended that ANC cadres named in the State Capture Commission report be excluded from election lists. The party is set to finalise the lists, which must be lodged with the Electoral Commission by Friday, March 8. 

ANC poll lists

Illustrative image | From left: Bongani Bongo. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach) | Mosebenzi Zwane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw) | David Mahlobo. (Photo: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla) | Supra Mahumapelo. (Photo: Gallo Images / Jeffrey Abrahams) | Zweli Mkhize. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | Zizi Kodwa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

Among ANC members named by the State Capture Commission as having a case to answer for abuse of power, abrogation of duty and instances of alleged corruption are:

Current members of the executive

  • Gwede Mantashe — minister of mineral resources and energy and ANC national chairperson (Bosasa graft).
  • Zizi Kodwa — minister of sports, arts and culture (favours from corruption-accused company EOH).
  • Khumbudzo Ntshavheni — minister in the Presidency (for lack of vigilance as a board member at Denel during the administration of former president Jacob Zuma).
  • David Mahlobo — deputy minister of water and sanitation (alleged looting of national intelligence funds and siphoning a monthly allowance of about R2.5-million to Zuma while intelligence minister under his administration).

Senior ANC official 

  • Nomvula Mokonyane — first secretary-general of the ANC (Bosasa graft).

ANC members of the National Assembly

  • Cedrick Frolick (Bosasa graft).
  • Thabang Makwetla (Bosasa graft).
  • Bongani Bongo (numerous allegations).
  • Mosebenzi Zwane (numerous allegations).
  • Sfiso Buthelezi — (alleged corruption at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA while board chairperson).

ANC member of the National Council of Provinces

  • Winnie Ngwenya (Bosasa graft).


  • Malusi Gigaba (serving the Gupta network using the numerous Cabinet portfolios he occupied, for which he allegedly received cash payments).

ANC veterans

  • Vincent Smith (Bosasa graft).
  • SA’s ambassador to China, Siyabonga Cwele (for alleged abuse of power while intelligence minister).
  • Former president Jacob Zuma (for numerous abuses of power related to State Capture; Zuma is now the public face of the uMkhonto Wesizwe party).
  • Former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule (for alleged corruption related to his time as Free State premier; Magashule now heads the African Congress for Transformation party).

The ANC agreed to exclude from the lists its members implicated in State Capture after veteran Mavuso Msimang resigned and returned after the party’s turnabout. However, the debate about whether or not they should be on party lists is still dividing the party and appears to have yet to be concluded.

The exclusions could affect bigwigs including Dr Zweli Mkhize, who was implicated in the Digital Vibes scandal exposed by Daily Maverick. (See Pieter Louis-Myburgh’s explainer two years on from first exposure.) Mkhize is the chairperson of the ANC’s influential social transformation committee. 

Nonkululeko Njilo reported here on the 97 party members and leaders implicated in the State Capture Commission report, and on the process followed by the previous Integrity Commission.

Marianne Merten reported here on Parliament clearing four MPs implicated by the State Capture Commission.


The ANC members affected by the Integrity Commission report argue they do not have to step aside from their roles or decline nomination to be on the party lists because they have not been charged with any offence under the law.

The ANC has watered down the step-aside rule to deal with corruption from an initial 2017 conference resolution, which said that members implicated in public corruption scandals should step aside. The party’s National Executive Committee decided this was prejudicial and it was moderated to “step aside only after being charged”.

Even though the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was a judicial process, its rules of evidence differ from those of a legal process. Hence, members implicated in it argue that they must first be charged before stepping aside from the party’s election lists.

The ANC Veterans’ League, chaired by Snuki Zikalala, has lobbied for the implicated members to be excluded. The Women’s and Youth League say members not formally charged should be on party election lists.

Mantashe, Kodwa and Mokonyane characterised the allegations against them as coming from individuals who did not understand the ANC culture of comradely care and kinship.

Three opinion polls, including its own, have found that the ANC is likely to poll lower than ever before in the May 29 election. This means getting a higher position on party lists is vital to securing political office. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024 News Hub


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Malcolm Mitchell says:

    Will be very interesting to see if they finally “bite the bullet”

  • Wilhelm Boshoff says:

    Finally I understand corruption & its context. It is the “ANC culture of comradely care and kinship.”

  • Brian Cotter says:

    That is just Zondo Commission, News 24 and other investigative agencies. Don Pablo?

  • Leon Schipper says:

    Translation of “the ANC culture of comradely care and kinship”: we exist to enrich ourselves and cover for one another.

  • Peter Dexter says:

    The ANC struggle with the concept that ethics is a standard higher than that required by law. One does not have to be found guilty by a court to have breached an ethical code, but I don’t think that logic would suit these individuals.

    • Jeff Robinson says:

      Good comment. I have often challenged the precept: “innocent until proven guilty”. I understand that it is meant to mean that one must LEGALLY be treated as innocent until there is a verdict of guilty or if the case does not reach a verdict either way (e.g. acquitted on a technicality).

    • D Rod says:

      They are struggling with standard already prescribed by the law, never mind a higher standard. In a normal society, those would be criminals, in SA they are role models for cadres.

  • Nick Griffon says:

    Comrade = My fellow criminal

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    That this is still a showdown beggars belief on the eve of an election. The ANC needs to be unambiguously intentional about implicated members and face the music at the poles for its self confessed policy of deploying implicated crooks. VOTE ANC we get nothing done because we deploy crooks.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Unbelievable that they are actually having a debate about this! Criminal activity cannot be hidden under the guise of “ care and compassion “ or even comradeship! Crime is crime….no matter who commits it.

  • Matthew Cocks says:

    Will be fascinating to see what Mavuso Msimang does, after he backtracked previously from making his initial stand, because the ANC said they would action his concerns….hmmmm….watching with bated breathe!

    • Alan Watkins says:

      Me too. My prediction; the ANC will weasel out of its commitment to him. Then we will see if Msimang and the rest of the ANC Veterans League make a stand, maybe even resigning en masse.

    • John Smythe says:

      The ANC he thinks he knows cannot change. Corruption is in its DNA. Msimang comes from the old DNA order where the possibility of mass corruption wasn’t even on its mind.

  • Iota Jot says:

    Who needs the Oxford Dictionary when you have the ANC to define ‘nepotism’?

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    What a bunch of useless oxygen thief’s
    As if anyone would miss them.
    A few more could join that list.

  • George 007 says:

    My hair hurts after reading this.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Send the Zondo list to MK : they are looking for recruits with those skills and experience.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Integrity!? This word has NEVER had any relevance in the ranks of the ANC. An inconvenient truth; to be implicated in theft, corruption is an essential “quality” for elevation to high office in the ANC and Govt. Just look at the names listed and here we are 2-3 years post the Zondo Report and absolutely NOTHING has happened. It is shameless, priceless, insulting but watch this space; all the alleged thieves will slip back on to these lists which then guarantee a spot at the feeding trough!!

  • Rae Earl says:

    Today we’re told that a commission must be set up to look for apartheid transgressors not covered by the TRC some 30 years ago. That’s exactly what the ANC wants; point to the legacy of apartheid being the reason for them being dishonest and stealing left right and centre from their own people. They have no more wiggle room and are now dredging up any excuse they can find to offset their own blatant corruption.

  • Rob vZ says:

    Where’s the list of grand corruption by DA members? There isn’t one – zero tolerance for graft.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      This is the most important comment here by far.

      The detail of what is wrong makes no difference – is just is.

      All of us need to be looking for “what is the best option we have today” and voting for it in the 2024 elections.

  • Con Tester says:

    The ANC is not even capable of enforcing its more relaxed step-aside rule. Zandile Gumede is campaigning for the ANC in KZN while facing corruption charges in court, yet no ANC bigwig has said a word about it.

    Don’t trust *anything* coming from ANC lips, especially if it sounds promising.

    BTW, I got coffee all over my keyboard when I read that drivel about “[I]ndividuals who did not understand the ANC culture of comradely care and kinship.”

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    Journalists just love stirring the pot City Press especially, sound very similar to another media group who print plenty of fake info.

  • Vincent Britz says:

    The ANC government is just a bunch of thieving scammers and gangsters that will destroy this country and all it’s citizens just to enrich themselves! Also don’t forget about all the rest of the corrupt politicians in other party’s, they also only after one thing and that’s to lay there hands on our hard earned taxpayer’s money to once again enrich themselves once again! So for the intelligent people of SA, please just vote for the party that has the best track record running their province in SA. There is only one and we need them to Win, this is our only chance to save our beloved country!! This year vote with your head and don’t listen to the lies of the corrupt!

  • Ivan van Heerden says:

    If not being corrupt was a criterion for those lists there would only be about 3 people on it. The ANC is rotten from stem to stern.

  • Colin Braude says:

    ANC elections head Mdumiseni Ntuli said the ANC made “a mistake” by supporting Jacob Zuma in Parliament while ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula told supporters that the ANC lied to protect Zuma over Nkandlagate. Ntuli, the ANC KZN provincial secretary when fraud and corruption charges against Zuma were reinstated, supported him in court and in public.

    Supporting JZ783 was not just a simple “mistake” it was an act of corruption (as defined by the ANC-legislated Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act) — all the ANC’s then MPs are therefore «corrupt» and should stand down.

  • The real Ellon Must says:

    The real problem the ANC has is that they probably cannot populate the election list as there are not enough “untainted” members available

  • ST ST says:

    The beauty of innocent til proven guilty is that one gets a fair trial. The ugly is that criminals roam free. Especially if they’re wealthy and well connected.

  • John Smythe says:

    I love it when I see reference to the “ANC’s Integrity Commission”. It’s just a name. How can thugs judge thugs? It’s just a matter of who the biggest threat is. It has nothing to do with integrity at all.

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    The ANC has watered down the step-aside rule to deal with corruption from an initial 2017 conference resolution, which said that members implicated in public corruption scandals should step aside. The party’s National Executive Committee decided this was prejudicial and it was moderated to “step aside only after being charged”


    Innocence until proven guilty is a minimum legal principle, even one of the ANC’s current senior leaders and ideologue Mdumiseni Ntuli once said that revolutionaries must judged on higher ethical standards, not a minimum standard like innocence until proven otherwise.

    On the fear of the possibility of the abuse of the step aside rule, Plausibility saves the day.
    Not anyone can accuse anyone of corruption and provide no evidence, then that person is taken serious to the extent that the fingered person is forced to step aside. The accusations must be probable.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    The fact that the ANC is so deeply divided on the issue of not having tainted thieves on the list tells you everything you need to know about the party: it remains completely unreformed from when Ramaphosa bought the top spot by a whisker from the Bell-Pottinger faction. It’s become abundantly clear that Ramaphosa’s win at NASREC was a victory for greater splodges of wonga being hauled out from under the couch, rather than renewal and reform. Just one bunch of trough-swillers outbidding the other. The prospect of losing outright power (and MPs) is thrilling, tempered by the possibility of the ANC jumping into bed with even worse parties in order to keep clinging onto power and patronage through their Ponzinomics.

  • Rachelle Seymore says:

    The fact that they are still debating this is shameful. Anyone who still votes for them deserves what they get…hunger, homeless, jobless, poor…the list goes on.

  • Karin vdK says:

    would be amusing were it not so excruciatingly sad…

  • Alastair Moffat says:

    No shame!

    • Peter Relleen says:

      Yes, “shame”. Now there’s a word.
      That is something that I haven’t seen exhibited by the ANC – ever.
      Shifting the blame, but never displaying the shame.

  • Just Me says:

    Q – How many ANC cadres does it take to take action on corruption?
    A – No one knows. There has never been any action taken against ANC cadres involved in corruption.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    If those implicated in State Capture are on the ANC list then we know that corruption will be ongoing

  • Simon Evered says:

    None of the 97 listed plus Mkhize should be allowed to stand. Simple!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    What the ANC has done over the last 30 years is shown how to turn a silk purse into a pigs ear!

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    If the NPA were doing its job they should all be charged by now.

  • Stephen Brooks says:

    “Better the devil you know.” The list of offenders is full of persons who are permanently in the corruption spotlight and cannot make an illegal move without someone in the media reporting it. Removing these crooks from the ANC list just makes room for more anonymous crooks, who will spent their time under the radar very profitably. And does the speaker of the house get a free ride or should she be in the list?
    And no mention of President Phala Phala.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    How many of the ANC’s Top Brass, meeting to decide, are themselves implicated?
    If it’s the ANC Top 7 deciding – I would suggest Fikile, Gwede, Paul Mashatile & Nomvula recuse themselves as each has been implicated.
    In fact if they did recuse themselves (as they should) the Top 7 wouldn’t be Quorate – implying that it would be impossible for them to vote on the matter (which in turn would be both convenient and consistent with the spirit of Comradely kinship and care)

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    In Scotland there are 3 possible outcomes in a trial. Guilty, not guilty and not proven. In other words only a not guilty verdict means the accused is innocent. Guilty means guilty but not proven means the accused is probably guilty but this cannot be proven. But our legal system a not guilty verdict does not necessarily mean that the accused is innocent. The Zuma rape trial is a case in point. He was found not guilty but I aver that very few people think that he was innocent.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    The ANC has been disappointing any party who care about their brand would have used the ample opportunity given by reports to remove all these conflicted fellows.
    It will be sad to loose this brand with so many good policies.
    Well elections will decide, but with the recycling of all those on the list is definitely a death wish.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F March 5th at 03:29
    If it’s left to the ANC to decide who should stand for them in the coming election we must not expect any changes. So far as ANC is concerned qualifications, and implication in state capture is irrelevant.


  • Flapster Karos says:

    And you think they care…

  • virginia crawford says:

    Please remind me what the Zondo Commission cost and what it actually achieved? Thick skin, utterly shameless doesn’t begin to describe the attitude if these venal ANC politicians.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    There may be 16 on this list, but every single member is guilty, at very least, of colluding with criminals. Were there any innocent members of the SS? No, because the very act of joining is an indication of criminal intent, or, at best, sheer apathy towards the plight of South Africans. (And, by the way, for those who are students of history, we know that Hitler took great care of most of his generals and ministers, so that the price of opposing him was just too high.)

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob -. March 6th 2024 at 14:24
    This problem would have been completely avoided if South Africa had an effective and independent prosecuting authority and a judiciary comprised of more judges the calibre of Justice Zondo.

  • Tracey Levell says:

    I think you forgot about Cyril in your list and his stuffed sofa story case
    That tallies up 17 members ( that we know of). And still we wait to hear as to how they will handle this.
    Has the ANC no shame nor conscience?

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