Johannesburg - ANC presidential candidate Lindiwe Sisulu has become the latest high-ranking ANC leader to express her concern about the toxic effect that money could have on the ANC’s elective conference.
But she is hoping that delegates at the crucial conference starting this Saturday will consider the future of the governing party and the country when they cast their votes on who will succeed President Jacob Zuma as the next party leader.
In an interview with Independent Media, Sisulu urged delegates to put the values of the ANC and the interests of the country first.
“I took that to heart when I ran my campaign, to return to those values, because I have been very worried about the effect of money in our campaign because it has a very negative influence ultimately.
“When people become used to it (money), it becomes so much easier (to be corrupted) beyond the elections,” she said on Tuesday.
Sisulu’s statements come as allegations of vote buying and manipulation of the branch nomination process intensified.
On Tuesday, the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament, Jackson Mthembu, claimed in several tweets that regional secretaries in some provinces were trying to “allocate fraudulent delegates to branches that have failed to hold BGMs (branch general meetings)”.
In a subsequent tweet, Mthembu stated that attempts to “replace” Cyril Ramaphosa’s branch delegates, where he had received nominations “had been fought viciously by our branches”.
Sisulu said she was gravely concerned about the allegations of vote buying.
“I remain very resolute about running a particular race based on particular principles of no slate, no money, no corruption, (and based on) all those things that we want to restore
“What I wanted to say about my (campaign) direction is that it gives me hope that the campaigns of the ANC can be corruption free, slateless, without being dependent on possibilities of being under somebody’s wing or somebody’s arm.”
Sisulu’s views came amid court cases that threatened to put the credibility of the conference into question.
Disgruntled ANC Free State members on Tuesday charged that the elective conference was in danger of being declared unlawful and its outcomes successfully challenged in court.
They have filed an explosive affidavit in the Free State High Court, detailing alleged irregularities in the holding of branch general meetings (BGMs) ahead of the provincial general council and the provincial congress which ended on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, the Eastern Cape High Court dismissed an application brought by 11 unhappy party members to nullify the conference that elected Oscar Mabuyane as chairperson in October.
ANC stalwarts and veterans, on the other hand, appealed to delegates attending the national conference to change the ruling party’s trajectory and return it to its values and principles.
“We specifically call on you as NEC members to provide leadership and encourage delegates at the conference to withhold their votes from those who have been implicated in wrongdoing and who have done nothing to clear their names,” they said in a statement.
“We call on all those who have been compromised in any way to do the right thing and disclose this by approaching the law enforcement agencies as well as our Integrity Commission so we rid ourselves of the cancer of corruption that is destroying our movement.”
Fresh from their recent national consultative conference, which was addressed by former president Thabo Mbeki, among others, the veterans delegates had to pledge to act with honesty and integrity at all times and expose corruption and dishonesty.
“Cast your vote for integrity, honesty, anti-corruption, anti-factionalism and for principled unity.”
On Tuesday, there was signs there could be a big fight over credentials of delegates at the conference.
Speaking to Independent Media, ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said credentials would be the key issue, and in terms of the party’s constitution, only branches which have held BGMs should be allowed to send delegates to the conference.
Jacobs and most of his provincial executive have been staunch supporters of Ramaphosa, easily defeating supporters of Dlamini Zuma when the PGC convened two weeks ago, receiving 121 branch nominations with only 13 for his opponent.
“We’re anticipating, because the stakes are so high and they’ve got a lot to lose, people (our opponents) are not going to roll over and die. There’s going to be dirty tricks, we’re already anticipating dirty tricks, if people don’t see the numbers they will disrupt the conference,” said Jacobs.
He said all the rules must apply equally.