The ANC must take the list process seriously or it will be punished at the polls

NEWS ANALYSIS

In the coming days, the ANC will mull the first draft of its national-to-national list of public representatives at its national list conference in Durban.

By all accounts, the list is a disaster — by design.

Since the ANC’s national elective conference held at Nasrec in December 2017, the party has made some progress. But it continues to wage an internal battle against a faction loyal to former president Jacob Zuma who are trying to claw back power. Which brings us back to the list conference.

Those who are criminally charged or implicated in wrongdoing must be exposed. They are a danger — not just to the ANC but to the country as a whole. And this is why the ANC cannot be allowed to simply go through the motions at the national list conference.

No one can be allowed to endanger the efforts of the clean up of corruption and stability in the party and the state. For the ANC, the prospect of choosing the wrong leaders will have dire consequences. If they don’t choose properly the people who they decide to represent the party can actually cost them the election. And that is what the looters want.

The ANC’s electoral campaign may end up being a victim of sabotage by people who see the state as a feeding trough.

There is a concerted effort to use a poor performance at the polls to force an early national general council (NGC) and reinstate the looters.

As journalists we must be vigilant and expose efforts to sink this campaign of reform.

It will allow the proxy parties such as Hlaudi Motsoeneng and similar dodgy individuals in the North West and KwaZulu Natal to end up king makers in provinces and use it as a way to access largesse from the state. The taps were turned off in 2018. But there are many who want back in. This is how state capture has morphed. They are learning from the Economic Freedom Fighters on how to extract rents from local authorities. To confront this phenomenon, we must be vigilant.

At a time like this — when we are in the throes of difficulty — we need leaders who will assert their integrity, who will bring back hope, who are committed to the cause and are not seeking positions for personal gain. But we need also to seek leadership that is free from scandal, especially as the commission of inquiry into state capture — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — will continue to cast scrutiny on our leaders.

Furthermore, for us to achieve that standard of leadership, vetting must be compulsory. Only those who can pass lifestyle audits must be allowed to stand for leadership.

Political leaders must ultimately serve people, and South Africans have grown dejected with their leaders. They are despondent. To remedy this, we need leaders who will respond to their plight or we will be selling out the gains of the democratic state.

This applies to all political parties, not just the governing party.

All political parties registered to contest the polls must submit lists of their candidates for the national and provincial governments to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). We must be vigilant of all these lists. But for the ANC, the scrutiny is more intense.

The choice the governing party faces is particularly stark. 

When the ANC’s national executive committee meets this weekend, they will be final arbiters of who makes it onto the list presented to the IEC. They must be reminded of the party’s losses in the local elections in 2016. 

Karima Brown is a political analyst and broadcaster.

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