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05 Apr 2019 00:00
In waiting: The IEC’s decision, to be announced on April 8, could affect the candidates the ANC can send to Parliament. (David Harrison)
The ANC has defended its MP and MPL candidates who have objections lodged against them, saying the objections were “procedurally flawed” and were without a “legal or constitutional basis”.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) this week wrote to the ANC, and eight other parties, informing them about the objections to candidates on their list of potential MPs and MPLs from the general public.
The IEC had received 53 objections to candidates on nine party lists, its chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said.
The objections against the ANC candidates, according to the letter from the IEC, were due to allegations of corruption and revelations before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, various court cases and information in the media.
The objections also related to alleged criminal acts carried out by members, with accusations of theft, fraud and rape.
A letter from ANC secretary general Ace Magashule responding to the communication from the IEC says that the objections should be dismissed as they lacked legal basis and were procedurally flawed.
The ANC highlighted the procedural requirements for objections, as outlined in section 30 of the Electoral Act. It said the party had not been informed about the objections in the manner prescribed by the Act.
“We wish to place on record that we are not aware of having being served with any objection in the prescribed manner set out in Section 30 (2) and [in] regulations,” the letter read.
The party added that the objections received did not constitute disqualifications in terms of legislation.
The ANC cited a 2009 case between itself and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) in which the electoral court dismissed an objection against the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela from being included on the list.
The FF+ had argued that she should be disqualified from being an MP because of a sentence of imprisonment in 2004.
The party quoted a unanimous judgment, which said none of the allegations referred to by the FF+ constituted disqualification as a candidate.
Members of the public were allowed to lodge objections, but the IEC criteria are narrow and limited to, among other factors, criminal convictions, whether candidates appear on more than one political party list, whether the candidate has been declared to be of an unsound mind or is an unrehabilitated insolvent.
The objections lodged by the general public rarely lead to candidates being removed from party lists, unless the objection is found to fit the criteria in the legislation.
The IEC received objections to two of the ANC’s highest-ranking officials — Deputy President David Mabuza and chairperson Gwede Mantashe — who feature in the number two and three slots respectively on the party’s national list of MPs to Parliament.
The objections spanned across factions — those aligned to both the “reformists” and the Zuma loyalists who are entangled in allegations of state capture and corruption.
Objections were also received against current MPs Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini, Mosebenzi Zwane, David Mahlobo, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Zweli Mkhize, Angie Motshekga, Yunus Carrim, Thoko Didiza, Cedric Frolick, Vincent Smith as well as ANC head of the presidency Zizi Kodwa.
The letter informing the ANC of objections said the reasons included that the conduct of the individuals were viewed as “unbecoming of persons wanting to become or continue to be office bearers”.
The IEC would look into the objections and announce its decision by April 8, according to the election timetable.
ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete confirmed that the party had responded to the IEC on Wednesday.
He said although there were objections to many ANC candidates, the party remained confident that its lists had met all the legal requirements and criteria as set out in the relevant legislation — the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The ANC had complied with the legal requirements and allegations in commissions of inquiry did not mean that candidates were guilty.
He said individuals had to be subjected to due process and no finding has been made against those who had been implicated in allegations of corruption and state capture.
Legoete added that the IEC remained the final arbiter and the party would await the outcome of its processes.
Although a decision will be made known on April 8, parties can still appeal that decision to the electoral court. The lists would then be finalised by April 23 and candidates would be issued with certificates on April 25.
Natasha Marrian is Mail & Guardian's politics editor. Read more from Natasha Marrian
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