ANC set to begin grilling candidates for mayoral positions

Female candidates will get a bonus five points more than their male counterparts when the ANC begins its process of selecting candidates for mayoral positions this week — purely on the basis of their gender.

In a document seen by the Mail & Guardian, the ANC has set out a range of criteria to measure the competency of their municipal and metro candidates. 

The M&G understands that the ANC committee tasked with interviewing mayors met on Thursday to discuss and adopt the strategy the party will use in the process. 

The final list of mayors is expected to be revealed after the party’s national executive committee meets on 13 November. The names of candidates for metros and municipalities will be announced on 15 November, a member of the committee told the M&G

In its document, the ANC lists nine competency areas on which each candidate will be judged, with scores ranging from five to 20 marks. 

The ANC candidates will judged on: 

  • Qualifications — five marks.
  • Political and leadership experience — 20 marks.
  • Executive management, policy and governance experience — 15 marks. 
  • Basic services and revenue generation. Management of public or development programmes. Community experience and social facilitation, social capital local economic development and business — 10 marks. 
  • Public profile and experience in working with media as well as stakeholder relations — five marks. 
  • Financial management, budgeting and interpretation of finances — five marks 
  • Core values and ethical  conduct — five marks. 
  • Gender — A man scores five and a woman 10.
  • Youth empowerment — five marks. 

Candidates for the posts will have to have a tertiary level qualification or equivalent, and at least five years of local government experience. 

Those applying for the position of metro mayors must have leadership experience in a public or private sector organisation with more than 100 employees, with exposure to strategic planning, performance management and labour relations. Mayors of smaller municipalities need to have worked in a leadership position in an organisation with at least 50 employees.

Potential mayors must also have a track record of disciplined behaviour, with no evidence of a criminal record or evidence of maladministration. 

In metros, members of the mayoral committee are expected to have a diploma, a good knowledge of local government, including the Municipal Structures Amendment Act, be a leader in good standing, and have at least two years’ experience in the public sector. Members of the mayoral committee charged with finance must have exposure to financial regulations, budget process, and have experience in a financial environment. 

In municipalities, the mayor is required to have a minimum of a matric certificate with recognition of prior learning. 

Other requirements for members of the mayoral committee include good communication skills, and a  firm grasp of the key attributes of the economics of local government — the provision of water, electricity, sanitation and refuse as well as attracting investment.

“Some of the larger metro budgets are equivalent or in some instances larger than many JSE-listed companies,” the ANC document states. “Appreciation of the local government system and complexities is therefore paramount. This sphere of government also involves the management and development of sophisticated high-value infrastructure. For the municipality to be sustainable we need a mayor who understands  the economic drivers of local government: water, electricity, sanitation, refuse and  specific-municipality key drivers and opportunities for economic expansion, comparative and competitive advantage, the optimum local industrial structure by which additional or alternative by which additional or alternative revenue generation can be attained to bring the municipality closer to financial sustainability.”

Other important attributes of the incumbents must be the ability to quickly grasp complex issues, to lead and hold a coherent debate and conversation, and to communicate effectively, the document states. It adds that without these leadership attributes, a lot of issues in council end up being subjected to voting, which may not always lead to the best decisions taken. 

The ANC’s national working committee was expected to meet on Sunday 7 November to discuss its poor showing in the local government elections. The party only managed to regain two of the metros it had lost in the last local government elections in 2016 — Mangaung and Buffalo City — leaving it vulnerable to possibly becoming the opposition in the key metros of Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekwini and Ekurhuleni. 

In September, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa said that, in choosing candidates for this year’s local government elections, the ANC was determined to deepen community participation in the process and assign oversight of the selection process to an electoral committee, led by the elders of the movement. 

“We want our candidates to reflect the great diversity of the South African people, reinforcing the reality that the African National Congress, more than any other political formation in our country, represents the interests and the aspirations of the South African nation,” Ramaphosa said.

He said that regions would no longer have any say in the selection of mayors and that the selection process would be rigorous, involving top leadership and provincial executive committees. 

Mayors must have the experience, capability and commitment to the job, he said.

Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the deputy minister of public enterprises, Phumulo Masualle, will join the top five leaders of the party in interviewing prospective mayoral candidates. 

According to the Municipal Structures Act, a person designated by the MEC for local government in the province, must call the first meeting of the council of that municipality within 14 days after the council has been declared elected. 

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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