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Johannesburg - The ANC has barred ambitious municipal councillors from candidate lists for next year’s elections.
The party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, reminded provincial structures last week in a letter that councillors did not qualify to be included on lists for provincial legislatures and Parliament for the 2014 polls.
The party is also casting its net wider by encouraging members of civil society to join the list nomination process.
In his letter, Mantashe said that, as outlined in ANC policy, councillors must complete their elected terms, which end in 2016.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said it was clear that councillors should not run for provincial or national office.
“They know that they’ve got a contract with our people. Imagine if all our councillors were to decide to ditch their positions and go.
“It would be a serious problem,” said Mthembu.
He said the party’s list process would be clearly outlined at a later stage to show who was eligible to stand and who was not.
The candidate selection policy is likely to be met with resistance and frustration within the party.
The enforcement of the policy comes less than a year after an ANC internal investigation uncovered massive irregularities and manipulation during the 2011 local government elections list process.
The party was forced to fire or criminally charge implicated councillors. The probe also led to the ANC giving up some of its wards and calling for new by-elections in cases where the ANC councillors were chosen fraudulently.
A party task team, led by AU chairwoman and ANC leader Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, investigated disputes in 419 wards following complaints and violent protests against some of the candidates, who were rejected by party branch members and the communities.
The team found that the ANC’s membership system was manipulated and that the process of selecting candidates was also corrupt. It recommended that in 125 wards the ANC process be started again.
In many instances, candidates for municipal elections preferred by branches had not been selected. In others, candidate lists were changed and unknown candidates were imposed on members.
The ANC’s team also found that government services were withheld from communities that did not select the councillors.
“The use of patronage and manipulation of tenders and projects by councillors in order to mobilise support was a frequent feature of the complaints investigated by the task team.
“The task team also came across instances of corruption, where councillors demanded bribes to facilitate the rendering of services,” the report said.