The ANC has diffused the row over controversial candidates in its election list, albeit temporarily, by pushing the discussion to after the elections, with critics within the governing party vowing to confront the matter head-on soon after the polls.
This has shut the door on the push to have an emergency national executive committee (NEC) meeting before the elections to process a recent damning integrity committee report recommending that 22 candidates step aside, including Deputy President David Mabuza and ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
But the first national working committee (NWC) meeting after May 8 is expected to be a battleground between the warring ANC factions: one pushing to have the tainted candidates iced until the integrity committee clears the issues and the other pushing for the affected leaders to be rewarded with public posts.
The integrity committee will also have to explain how it arrived at the list of 22 names when none of those accused has been given an opportunity to state their case.
ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told our sister publication News24 last week that the issues raised by the integrity committee would be placed on hold until after the elections.
“We will probably deal with the issues of the integrity committee after the elections. We do not have time now that we are campaigning,” said Mashatile.
“As far as we are concerned, as the top six,” he said, “we don’t have such a report. We will deal with it when it comes. Officially we have no report. I think it’s something that they were working on which was leaked.”
Last week integrity committee head George Mashamba told City Press the committee had concluded its process and handed over the report to the top six.
This was echoed by the party’s spokesperson, Dakota Legoete.
A party NEC member said the integrity committee report was a hot potato and even the party’s big guns were doing everything to bury it because it hit right at the top.
“They are very worried about this report and that is why they would want to pretend like it does not exist,” said the person.
Another NEC member lobbying for the list to be cleaned up told City Press on Friday that there was “still a glimmer of hope that ANC members tainted by scandals could be removed from the party’s public representative list after the elections”.
The party leader said the matter would be raised at the first NWC meeting after the elections.
“This was supposed to have happened last week during the NWC meeting. The NWC meeting was postponed and no reasons were given to us.
“We are confident that even if the outcome of the integrity commission can be given to us after the election those people will be removed,” said the insider.
The person said: “Those people that are found wanting by the integrity commission will definitely be removed.”
The disputes revolved around 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; Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who has been implicated in multiple graft allegations; and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who was allegedly at the centre of the state capture project and also has a damning court judgment against him.
The clean-up campaign was a result of the loss of significant electoral support under former president Jacob Zuma and his allies – including Mokonyane, Dlamini and Gigaba. There was concern that having these candidates accepted as potential public representatives would make it difficult for the party to recover.
The Zuma bloc have argued that a consistent approach could result in close allies of President Cyril Ramaphosa, such as Mabuza and Mantashe, being removed from the list.
Although the balance of forces in the ANC’s NEC seems to have tilted in Ramaphosa’s favour, it was clear that his opponents would fight tooth and nail to keep their favourites on the list.