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Cape Town - Election preparations are in full swing as the ANC and the DA identify and rank who should represent them in Parliament and on the provincial legislatures after the 2014 elections.
A cloud hangs over the country’s third biggest party, Cope: it quickly moved to hold its much-postponed national congress in January after the Johannesburg High Court ruled on Friday that Mosiuoa Lekota was party president, not co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa.
However, a threat of renewed court battles could scupper this crucial gathering ahead of next year’s poll, widely expected to be in May.
Lists of candidates of public representatives for Parliament and the nine provincial legislatures, ranked in order of popularity, must be submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission, alongside the required deposits, in order for the parties to be able to contest the 2014 elections.
These lists, or rankings, are important: the higher on the list, the better the chances of a candidate making it into the legislatures, either provincially or national, where seats are allocated according to electoral performance.
While ANC branches across the provinces have finalised their choices, these would be collated and finalised at provincial list conferences before a national list conference in December, the party said at the weekend.
So far President Jacob Zuma was nominated as number one in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape, followed by his ANC deputy Cyril Ramaphosa. The ANC Gauteng executive committee on Saturday endorsed the list, and its provincial list conference on Thursday will make the rankings official. However, the ANC in the North West has run into some challenges: it delayed its provincial list conference to next week amid an audit of branches.
Ramaphosa’s officially nomination in second spot on the national list comes in the wake of an alleged push in KwaZulu-Natal for other candidates, names for whom at one stage reportedly included ANC treasurer, and former KwaZulu-Natal premier, Zweli Mkhize.
Traditionally the ANC president and deputy head the national list and become the country’s president and deputy. However, this does not necessarily mean that the first on the the provincial list will be premier: a province submits three names to the ANC national executive committee, its highest decision-making body between conferences, from which the committee selects the premier candidate.
Only in the Free State and Mpumalanga are the party chairpersons also premiers.
Meanwhile, the DA on Saturday held its first of three online tests for aspirant public representatives. About 240 wrote the exam, and similar numbers are expected to sit on the other two dates in November. The test must be written by all candidates.
With the Western Cape and North-West having concluded its selections this weekend - although the results would be announced only this week after an audit - the process had moved to the national processes. The final ranking of candidates would be completed early next year, DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said.