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Ace Magashule: We don’t need white votes

2019-03-18 00:00

While ANC internal polls show a greater white engagement since Cyril Ramaphosa became president, the party insists it’s the black vote that counts

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has downplayed suggestions that Ramaphoria – the mood of positivity around President Cyril Ramaphosa – will see white South Africans voting for the party in big numbers in the May 8 general election.

Magashule told City Press that this “did not make sense” as the ANC’s support was not based on colour.

“There are democratic, progressive whites who will vote ANC because we are a nonracial organisation in character.

“But I am saying that the majority of our people and voters are those who were oppressed – blacks in general.

“There are whites who believe in democracy and nonracialism. They have been there for many years. But to think that whites, generally, will vote for the ANC this time around, for me, does not make sense.

“Our hope is not based on colour, and therefore people cannot say that whites this time are going to vote ANC – as if blacks are not actually going to vote ANC,” he said.

Magashule added that white voters did not vote for the party even when Nelson Mandela was still the president.

There have been expectations in the ANC’s leadership circles that because many voters in the DA’s traditional support base are well disposed towards Ramaphosa, they could be persuaded to ditch their party.

The ANC’s Gauteng internal research poll has revealed that the party’s support among white people had increased since Ramaphosa’s elevation to the presidency.

However, Magashule insisted that there were no iconic figures left in the ANC, adding that current ANC leaders love “money and positions”.

He told supporters in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, that ANC stalwarts like Mandela and Oliver Tambo were the last icons of the party.

“There are no icons left. We are a different breed of leaders.”

ANC Gauteng spokesperson Tasneem Motara said on Friday: “Our research indicates that white support in Gauteng has grown.”

However, she declined to comment further.

DA Gauteng leader John Moodey was confident that the shift would not happen. “I do not believe that we will be losing white votes to the ANC. There have always been some whites who vote for the ANC.”

Solly Malatsi, the DA’s national spokesperson, said claims that white voters want to give Ramaphosa a chance were not backed by any credible evidence.

He said the ANC under Ramaphosa remained the “old broken bus with a different driver”.

Magashule’s comments come in a week when the governing party has felt the heat for the top 100 candidates on its parliamentary list, which contains a number of controversial names and is packed with old people.

RAMAPHOSA LOSES LIST BATTLE

City Press has learnt that factional battles within the party caused a deadlock that saw the retention of candidates with dark clouds hanging over them.

It has emerged that the supporters of former president Jacob Zuma staged a relentless fightback against those wanting to use revelations at the Zondo commission into state capture to exclude some prominent names.

Some of the discredited ANC senior leaders who are high enough on the list to make it back to Parliament include Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who has been implicated in multiple graft allegations; and Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini, who has a damning judgment against her for misleading the Constitutional Court and possible perjury charges coming her way.

Also high up on the list are former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, who was also at the centre of the state capture project and also has a harsh court judgment against him; and former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was a key enabler of the Gupta family’s cause.

Ramaphosa’s foes used the fact that there is a Public Protector complaint into Bosasa’s R500 000 donation to his ANC leadership campaign in 2017 and that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, who is also chairperson of the ANC, had his domestic security installed by the company for free.

City Press understands that the removal of the leaders would have seen the Zuma camp going on a warpath against Ramaphosa, Mantashe and their allies.

“It was a difficult situation,” said a senior leader.

“There was an argument that if Dlamini and Mokonyane were removed from the list, Ramaphosa and Mantashe must also be removed from the list because they are implicated in the Bosasa scandal,” a senior leader said.

The return of controversial ministers is seen within the ANC as a setback for Ramaphosa’s promise to clean up governance.

Another controversial inclusion on the list is former public service and administration minister Faith Muthambi, who has a Public Service Commission ruling against her for failing to adhere to procedural prescripts by hiring relatives. She was also slammed for trying to mislead the body.

Muthambi is at a safe number 79 on the list.

The nomination of former SA National Civic Organisation president Richard Mdakane, who was charged in January with defrauding the organisation out of R1.1 million, has also raised eyebrows.

YOUNG BLOOD

Among the younger leaders destined for Parliament are former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola and current leaders Collen Maine, Desmond Moela and Thembi Siweya.

Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, the former president of the Student Representative Council at the University of the Witwatersrand and a #FeesMustFall activist, is also headed to Cape Town. 

The youth league previously pushed to have a 40% youth representation in all ANC deployments, but Magashule said there was more than a 20% youth representation on the list.

“We are starting to move and plan for the future. Those young ones who come in are now going to make sure that we have groomed as many young people as possible to take over for the future after five years,” he said.

IN THE PROVINCES

In Limpopo, ANC branches want former Vhembe District Municipality mayor and former deputy provincial chairperson Florence Radzilani – who is among those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal – to be an MEC.

Radzilani features as part of the top 10 most likely candidates to go to the legislature. Kabelo Mataboge, spokesperson for the ANC’s North West interim leadership, is number one on the provincial list.

Former premier and chairperson Supra Mahumapelo is number 58 on the national list.

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

Magashule said there was no basis to remove the likes of Mokonyane, Dlamini, Zwane and Gigaba from the list.

“What is the basis of saying to somebody where there are allegations, ‘Can you step aside?’

“Why should the likes of Nomvula [Mokonyane] and others, who have not been found guilty by any court of law, be removed?” he asked.

Magashule denied that their inclusion would harm the ANC’s performance and stressed that the vetting process was thoroughly conducted.

“We picked up some people with criminal records of more than 12 months and fines. If your criminal record has to be expunged, the law requires five or 10 years. But we have done our best. The vetting process was able to pick up some of the people with criminal records. We have not put them on the list.”

ANC VETERANS’ LEAGUE

ANC Veterans’ League president Snuki Zikalala said the presence of controversial figures on candidate lists would harm the ANC at the polls.

“Those who are implicated in corruption must step down from nomination. We are appealing to them not to hurt the ANC once again. The ANC under Ramaphosa has begun cleaning itself,” he said.

The SA Communist Party (SACP) said its support for the ANC should not be mistaken as support for “persons who have violated the values of the revolutionary moral high ground” of the ANC and its allies.

“It is important to emphasise that this is not a reaction to any person’s name but a matter of fundamental principle, which must be applied consistently,” said SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo.

Magashule admitted that young voters were going to determine the outcome of the election.

“The vote of young people is going to be key in this election and we must go to the young people. Young people are not just going to vote for any party. Whether we like it or not, the EFF is working hard and it is on the ground,” Magashule said.

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December 15 2019