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The ANC goes big on nonracialism

2019-01-06 20:01

The ANC is going big on nonracialism as it puts together the list of candidates set to become its parliamentary representatives after the general elections later this year.

At the party’s extended national executive committee (NEC) meeting – held yesterday in Durban to finalise its list of nominees – concerns were raised that, in a province like the Western Cape, the list of candidates for the National Assembly was dominated by Africans, which was likely to upset the crucial coloured vote in the area.

The ANC in the Western Cape had been “asked to ensure that coloureds top the list”, City Press has learnt.

However, Western Cape acting provincial chairperson Khaya Magaxa, who is also a member of the SA Communist Party’s (SACP’s) central committee, denied this, saying: “When it comes to the national question, the list is balanced. It is coloureds who are topping the list. The list is not yet finalised.”

The top 50 names on the national list would not be tampered with and were referred to as the “untouchables” – those who may not be removed from the list unless they were disqualified or withdrew.

The top 50 cover about 25% of the ANC’s 200-plus parliamentary seats.

Where the names of full-time officials appear – including those of secretary-general Ace Magashule; his deputy, Jessie Duarte; and treasurer-general Paul Mashatile – they would make way for three more candidates below the cut-off mark, and the spots would be used to diversify the racial component of the list.

Although some ANC candidates regarded as questionable characters may sneak into the weekend list, optimists in the party have vowed that the upcoming vetting process will finally eliminate those likely to cost the ANC votes.

Without mentioning the Western Cape specifically, head of the ANC presidency and NEC member Zizi Kodwa told City Press on the sidelines of the national list conference yesterday that the ANC took a firm position to affirm its “nonracial” character.

Kodwa said a number of lists had been sent back to provincial structures as they failed to reflect racial diversity.

“We think that we must not compromise on the nonracial character of the ANC because we are the most nonracial organisation in the country,” said Kodwa.

“The issue is not only to consider what will satisfy the ANC internally; we are also looking at what could attract the voter of the ANC.”

Kodwa added that the ANC would not gamble with its integrity as it looked to win over voters.

“We are clear about the integrity and credibility of the list. We want an ANC list that is electable to the voter. The list must give the voter confidence that these are people whom they can trust and who are honest.”

He said that the purpose of the list conference was not to remove people, but only to receive the lists.

“The next step is vetting. Part of this will look at the issue of the integrity of individuals outside of court judgments or criminal convictions, which will not be entertained at all.”

Kodwa said that if the national list committee and the vetting process took a view that certain names did not enhance the integrity of the ANC, “that decision will have to be made”.

COSATU’s CONCERNS

Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson for labour federation Cosatu, which is one of the ANC’s alliance partners, said: “The ANC cannot continue to pretend it does not have an image problem, especially because all of this is taking place side by side with state capture.”

Pamla said the 2016 local government polls had shown the ANC that it ought to take all these processes seriously and that it could no longer be sidetracked by narrow interests and party political considerations.

“The 1 million members of the ANC cannot put the ANC into power, and people are not going to be elected so that they serve those 1 million members. That is the level of naivety that borders on arrogance.

“One would hope that, as the ANC talks renewal, it has to be about morality, ethics, integrity, principle and all those issues.”

He said the broader public had to be factored in because “the ANC needs to be conscious that it has to rehabilitate its image and avoid a situation where these processes keep dragging it into the mud by elevating compromised characters”.

Pamla said the party also needed to “correct the anti-intellectualism of the past decade, where educated people are taken for granted when it comes to these positions”.

He said the party should also do away with recycling people whose names had appeared on its election lists as far back as 1994.

Alex Mashilo, the spokesperson for the other ANC alliance partner, the SACP, said the outcome of the list process should show that the ANC was a nonracial and nonsexist party.

WILL VETTING CLEAN UP THE LIST?

Last year, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini was said to have “survived” in Cabinet despite a damning Constitutional Court judgment and even calls from alliance partners for her to get the boot. Insiders said Dlamini had so far been protected by her presidency of the women’s league and the power she wielded as a result.

When asked about Dlamini, who featured prominently on the preliminary national list, Kodwa yesterday said that those who appeared on the list did so as individuals and not as leaders of structures.

“The list process does not appoint the national Cabinet. Secondly, nobody on that list is in what we can call a safe zone until the ANC wins elections. All of us must work to win elections.”

Thirdly, he said, “there is nobody who is on the list on the basis of their position in a structure”.

The likes of former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, who resigned last year after the handing down of a high court judgment that he lied under oath, also featured on the list, as did KwaZulu-Natal party leader Mike Mabuyakhulu, who is out on bail for charges of fraud and corruption.

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January 20 2019