The ANC has confirmed it will not stop its leaders who are facing criminal charges from being deployed to Parliament and provincial legislatures after this year’s elections.
This is despite a resolution at its last national conference in Mangaung that its leaders and public officials facing charges should step down from their positions while they face their legal woes.
On Monday the party will elect those who will be deployed to Parliament and legislatures at its national list conference , which is expected to give the strongest indication yet about the political future of its deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and many of its leaders.
A senior ANC leader told The Sunday Independent that intense lobbying already started on the sidelines of the national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla yesterday, which was preceded by an NEC meeting on Friday.
The conference is expected to put to bed uncertainties around Ramaphosa’s future, which have existed since reports surfaced that there were provincial structures like KwaZulu-Natal which were against Ramaphosa becoming the deputy president of the country after the elections.
KwaZulu-Natal ANC has denied the rumours, with provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala confirming after its provincial list conference last year that Ramaphosa was second on its list after President Jacob Zuma.
Various sources familiar with the most recent lists have confirmed that Ramaphosa appears second after Zuma on all provincial lists.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s national executive lekgotla in Pretoria, Mantashe said it was up to leaders to step down if they are accused of graft.
Mantashe vowed that the party was going to intensify efforts to clampdown on corruption.
“You can’t force people not to go to Parliament because they are accused. What will happen if they are acquitted? If you are convicted for 12 months without an option of a fine, you don’t qualify to go to Parliament. If you are accused of anything, there is a due process,” he added.
ANC NEC member and former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe, who was arrested last year and charged with fraud, theft and money laundering, appears on several lists from provinces to go to Parliament.
This has raised questions about whether the party would allow his nomination, along with that of Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block, against the Mangaung resolution which requires any party leader to step down if they face criminal charges.
Block is also facing corruption charges related to the Northern Cape provincial government.
The party has also established an integrity committee to take action against public officials, leaders and members of the ANC who face allegations of improper conduct.
It was not possible yesterday to establish whether the committee had played any role in the list process.
“The ANC is going to be tough on corruption. It has always been hard on corruption,” Mantashe said.
There are a lot of people who are not acknowledged that have been removed from many serious positions. But every time there is an allegation from the next person, what goes public is that the ANC does nothing about corruption,” he said.
The deployment of leaders to provincial legislatures has also put the focus on the future of the country’s eight provinces where the ANC is expected to win the coming elections.
All the female premiers have not had a strong showing in the provincial lists, while nominations have also raised concerns about politicians nominated despite facing corruption charges.
North West premier Thandi Modise, who was recently embroiled in a scandal involving the purchase of a R1.3 million car, is not among the top three leaders in the province.
These are the names that would be forwarded to the NEC for a decision on who becomes the premier.
North West ANC chairman and Speaker of the North West legislature Supra Mahumapelo tops the North West list and is widely expected to be elected premier after the elections.
In the Northern Cape, Block tops the provincial list for the legislature despite facing several fraud and corruption charges.
Current Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas is also on the list, but does not feature in the top three names.
Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet, who failed to make it on to the provincial executive committee of the party at its provincial conference last year, does not appear on the party’s top three names.
Neither does Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane feature in the province’s top three.
Though she has also been nominated on the list for Parliament, it is unclear whether the NEC would go against the wishes of the members in the province to return her as premier.
The ANC has prioritised its 50/50 gender policy and might have to impose some premier candidates to avoid an all-male leadership in provinces where it leads.
Mantashe said the lekgotla, the last before Zuma’s new term, assessed the progress made since the last one in July. The meeting also looked at what the government had achieved and the challenges it had faced in the past 20 years. He said the party focused on its performance on the five priority areas it identified in the last government term, including education, rural development and fighting corruption, among others. He added that special focus would be given to catalysts for economic development, such as energy and water.
The focus on water provision comes in the wake of the water cuts in Mothutlung, North West, which forced the ANC to fire the mayor of Madibeng Municipality.
- Sunday Independent