Durban - Former police commissioner Bheki Cele, who was fired by President Jacob over the police property lease saga, is expected to make a spectacular political comeback after this year’s general elections.
Cele has emerged top of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s list of candidates for Parliament this year, putting him in line for a plum cabinet position.
The party was to meet today to hold its list conference before the elections.
The names on the party list were chosen by the ANC branches in the provinces.
All nine provinces will meet over two days to finalise the names on the list.
Those chosen will be assigned to provincial or parliamentary lists.
Analysts said Cele’s position on the ANC list for KZN presents a conundrum for Zuma, who would be under pressure to appoint him to the cabinet.
Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said Cele’s name at the top of the list was not necessarily bad news for Zuma and showed that ANC members were planning for the future.
“I don’t think just because Zuma fired Cele that they are enemies.
“What I read from this is that because Zuma is going into his second term people on the ground are thinking beyond him.
“Zuma will be out of office after his second term, effectively make him a lame duck president, while Cele will still be a political force.
“That may be the thinking.”
However, it would be difficult for Zuma to appoint Cele to his cabinet.
He might angle for him to take up a senior position in the KZN legislature.
“After this election, President Zuma will probably start thinking about his legacy and appointing Cele to his cabinet may be embarrassing after he fired him during his first term.
“The best option for Zuma would be to send him to Parliament or even offer him his old job of transport MEC.
“For Zuma to make Cele a cabinet minister would make him look stupid.”
According to the ANC’s guidelines, the party needs 400 candidates for the National Assembly.
“List processes, by nature, will cause tensions in the organisation because some win and some lose and the order of names is important,” the party states in the guidelines.
“Our task is to allow a process that will have enough space for discussions, democratic participation, lobbying, objections, fair hearings, transparency in order and acceptance of results.”
ANC branches have reportedly nominated candidates such as suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini and former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni for seats in Parliament.
However, Vavi said he would not accept a parliamentary post. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has been quoted as urging Vavi to accept the nomination.
Vavi tweeted at the time: “I am honoured by ANC members’ confidence in me demonstrated through nomination to serve as an MP, but I have to respectfully decline.
“To me the priority for now is not strengthening of Parliament but building organs of people’s power, that’s how we can serve democracy.”
It is understood Dlamini has also declined nomination.
Despite the ANC’s pledge in its manifesto to fight corruption, the list includes some members who have been accused of corruption.
Among them are the ANC’s Northern Cape chairman, John Block, nominated for premier, ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe, former chief whip Tony Yengeni, and former Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said guidelines would determine whether those nominated for the cabinet were eligible.