End of list, end of an era
The ANC’s final candidate list confirms the end of the Thabo Mbeki era, as several former ministers and party officials considered close to him have not made the final cut.
These include former provincial and local government minister Sydney Mufamadi, former public works minister Thoko Didiza, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, ANC and government strategist Joel Netshitenzhe and former deputy party secretary Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele.
All had been nominated by branches and featured on the consolidated list from provinces published at the end of January.
Mthembi-Mahanyele was number 38 on that list, Netshitenzhe 41, Didiza 71, Matsepe-Casaburri 75 and Mufamadi 141. All are absent from the final list released to the media this week.
Former ANC Youth League deputy president Ruben Mohlaloga, who was expelled from the league for supporting Mbeki, has also been dropped after appearing at 191 in the initial list.
The final ANC list contains no surprises but confirms that a new leadership is in charge.
Most current Cabinet members are retained, although this is no guarantee that they will return to Cabinet.
The only serving Cabinet minister not to make the list is Matsepe-Casaburri. She said the reason for this is because she asked to retire and is “helping communities”.
Matsepe-Casaburri’s spokesperson, Joe Makhafola, said the minister had written to Luthuli House asking to be left off the list.
Quality is not the issue. The party has retained poor performers such as Land Affairs and Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa and Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour.
Intelligence Minister Siyabonga Cwele is the lowest placed minister at 131.
Several ANC office-bearers, including party general secretary Gwede Mantashe, treasurer general Mathews Phosa and spokesperson Jessie Duarte have said they are unavailable to serve as MPs.
Netshitenzhe could not be reached for comment, but it is believed he wants to continue as head of government policy.
The party has retained some well-known Mbeki-ites such as former safety and security minister Charles Nqakula, serving Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister in the Presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.
Curiously the ANC has sent five of the nine incumbent provincial premiers to the National Assembly, in what a party insider said is an effort to remove them from internal provincial battles. These include Mpumalanga premier Thabang Makwetla, Free State’s Beatrice Marshoff, Northern Cape’s Dipuo Peters, Sbu Ndebele of KwaZulu-Natal and North West’s Edna Molewa.
A source said if the premiers were left in their provinces, they would be tempted to continue controlling them from the outside, making life difficult for their successors. It was expected that ANC MPs who did not make it on to the list would rush to join Cope, but this has not happened.