/ 4 March 2024

ANC should bar ‘tainted’ individuals from election lists, says Snuki Zikalala

Safrica Politics Anc
ANC heavyweight Zizi Kodwa is one of many within the governing party to be implicated in state capture. (WIKUS DE WET/AFP via Getty Images)

As the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) gears up for discussions on its election candidates lists, veterans’ league president Snuki Zikalala said the party would find itself in a “tricky” position if it allows those implicated in state capture to stand as public officials.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian this week, Zikalala said the ANC should not allow tainted individuals or those with “smallanyana skeletons” to stand as representatives of the provincial and national legislature.

“The biggest problem we have in the ANC is that we have a trust deficit in society. If we need to bring back that trust in society, it means we have to put people with impeccable credentials — people who, when society looks at them, will believe in them and that these people are not going to steal from the public purse,” he said.

Zikalala highlighted that the NEC, the ANC’s highest decision-making body, resolved in February 2023 that those who are implicated in state capture must report to the party’s integrity commission and that those who didn’t must face a disciplinary process. 

“Only five have gone to the integrity committee. The remaining must explain themselves to say why they have not gone to the integrity commission,” he added.

The ANC Veterans’ League has repeatedly stated that the party should bar those implicated in the state capture report from standing as public representatives. This is contrary to the party’s step-aside rule, which says members who have been charged by the National Prosecuting Authority should step down as public representatives.

In an interview with M&G last week, ANC electoral committee secretary Livhuwani Matsila said it had not received any instruction to exclude the 97 members implicated in the state capture report from its lists. 

“We have not been informed of such a decision but we are meeting with the officials tomorrow [Thursday]. They will tell us if there’s that decision,” he said.

This is despite ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula previously saying that the party’s leadership would urgently act to address unethical behaviour and ill-discipline of all its members.

“We are determined that only members whose reputations are beyond reproach will be included in our list of candidates for parliament and provincial legislatures. This means that those implicated by the Zondo commission will not be included,” he said in a statement in December 2023.

Asked what the league’s reaction would be if the NEC went ahead to put those implicated in state capture on its lists, Zikalala said that decision would be “a very tricky one”.

More people have been accused of corruption in addition to the 97 named in the Zondo state capture report.

 Among them is National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. She is alleged to have taken bribes totalling R2.3 million from a South African National Defence Force contractor while she headed the defence ministry, according to a Sunday Times report.

Another ANC heavyweight implicated in wrongdoing is the party’s deputy president, Paul Mashatile. Last month, Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen opened a corruption case against Mashatile, accusing him of benefiting from nepotism.

Mapisa-Nqakula and Mashatile are likely to also be a part of the discussions about whether they should be included in the ANC’s candidates  lists. 

Parties have until Friday to submit lists of their national and provincial candidates for the upcoming elections. Ahead of the ANC’s special NEC on Monday, Mbalula told journalists at Birchwood Hotel that the party should be ready to submit its lists before the deadline.

Mbalula said 284 individuals were interviewed during the list process. “In all of this we need continuity. And in terms of continuity we look at the performance of those who were given an opportunity … 50% of those must be retained in the lists so that there’s continuity and we do not start from scratch.”

In relation to those implicated in the Zondo commission, Mbalula said this matter would be discussed at length.

“It’s better to talk about something that is before us rather than talking about a matter that is being processed. We have guidelines and principles that guide us. The list will be determined against those guidelines and principles that we are following in terms of concluding the list,” he said.