623 25.01.2014From L-R is ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, General secretary of ANC Gwede Mantashe, President of ANC Jacob Zuma and ANC treasure general Zweli Mkhize in the panel during the conference of the ANC NEC lekgotla held at St George conference centre in Irene, Gauteng on Saturday, 25 January 2014.Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Behind the scenes efforts to prevent ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa from ascending to the Union Buildings appear to have failed as he is second to President Jacob Zuma on all the ruling party’s provincial lists of preferred MPs.

Ramaphosa looks set to replace Kgalema Motlanthe as the country’s second-in-command.

The Sunday Independent has established that members of the ANC across its provincial structures placed Ramaphosa second after Zuma as the party holds its national list conference in Pretoria tomorrow.

The list process has seen intense lobbying among provinces for their preferred candidates.

The conference is expected to put to rest uncertainties around Ramaphosa’s future, which have existed since reports surfaced that provincial structures like KwaZulu-Natal were against him becoming the country’s deputy president after the elections.

Last year, the KwaZulu-Natal ANC denied the rumours, with provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala confirming after its provincial list conference that Ramaphosa was second on its list after Zuma.

Several sources familiar with the most recent lists confirmed that Ramaphosa appears second after Zuma on all provincial lists.

“Most of the lists are similar when it comes to the president and deputy president. It is in line with the leadership elected at Mangaung,” said one senior ANC leader, speaking on condition of anonymity as the conference only takes place tomorrow.

In another interesting development, the ruling party has reiterated that it would not bar leaders who face criminal charges from going to Parliament.

These may include those who could be fingered in the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report into security installations at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

Speaking on the sidelines of the NEC lekgotla yesterday, ANC secretary-general Gwede 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.

“Let me tell you, the ANC is going to be tough on corruption. It has always been hard on corruption. There are a lot of people of 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.

“Many of them get accused by the Public Protector but they are not found guilty. What we are not going to do is to play to the gallery and just go all over doing witch-hunt because we want to be seen to be doing something right,” 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, features on several provincial lists 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.

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 on 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 in the party’s top three.

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