SACP: ROOT OUT ROGUE CAN­DI­DATES

SACP and Cosatu vow to with­draw sup­port for ward coun­cil­lor can­di­dates who are forced on com­mu­ni­ties, write Se­tumo Stone and Hlengiwe Nhlabathi

CityPress - - Front Page - PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

The SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) and Cosatu say they will not throw their weight be­hind rogue elec­tion can­di­dates who are im­posed on com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the ANC’s coun­cil­lor nom­i­na­tions process.

The ANC’s al­liance part­ners spoke with one voice this week ahead of the party’s na­tional list con­fer­ence in Cen­tu­rion in Tsh­wane, say­ing that they would with­draw sup­port for any per­son pushed through the back door against the will of com­mu­ni­ties.

The ANC would be hard-pressed to go into the elec­tions with­out max­i­mum sup­port from the SACP and Cosatu as they are a key com­po­nent in its elec­tion ma­chin­ery, con­tribut­ing fi­nan­cially as well as in terms of hu­man re­sources.

More than 4 000 meet­ings have been held by ANC branches through­out the coun­try to se­lect can­di­dates who would be pop­u­lar with both the party and the community. But some of these have been marred by as­sault, in­tim­i­da­tion, dam­age to prop­erty, vi­o­lent protests and, in some cases, killings. In many in­stances, this has been caused by lead­ers in higher struc­tures try­ing to push their pre­ferred can­di­dates though against the wishes of com­mu­ni­ties and branches.

Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Na­tal have been par­tic­u­larly hard hit.

Cosatu spokesper­son Sizwe Pamla said that “if the ANC can­not take the process of in­ter­nal vot­ing se­ri­ously, then we will be pan­der­ing to an­ar­chy”.

“Any­one who is il­le­git­i­mate on that list does not de­serve the sup­port of the fed­er­a­tion,” said Pamla.

He said the is­sue of sneak­ing in il­le­git­i­mate can­di­dates was a na­tional prob­lem, but it was “more pro­nounced” in some prov­inces, such as KwaZulu-Na­tal.

SACP spokesper­son Alex Mashilo said the ANC had de­vel­oped and adopted guide­lines on the nom­i­na­tion process of coun­cil­lor can­di­dates.

“The main thing for the SACP is that the guide­lines adopted by the ANC must be fol­lowed to the let­ter,” he said.

If it hap­pened that there was coun­cil­lor can­di­date im­posed or who emerged from a cor­rupt process or a vi­o­la­tion of the process, there would be a prob­lem with re­gard to that can­di­date, he said. The SACP in KwaZulu-Na­tal’s Eric Stalin Mt­shali dis­trict this week said one of the two ANC coun­cil­lors who was last week sen­tenced to life in prison for mur­der was “at the top of the list of can­di­dates to be con­sid­ered by the ANC”. “It was no won­der that the peo­ple of KwaN­dengezi were protest­ing the im­pos­ing of this can­di­date coun­cil­lor – ac­cord­ing to our un­der­stand­ing, he was sup­posed to be un­der sus­pen­sion,” said spokesper­son Mthetheleli Sibisi. How­ever, the al­liance part­ner’s pos­ture is likely to set it on a col­li­sion course with ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, who this week said re­ports of vi­o­lence as a re­sult of al­le­ga­tions of vote rig­ging and ma­nip­u­la­tion of pro­cesses were ex­ag­ger­ated. Man­tashe blamed the vi­o­lence dur­ing the party coun­cil­lor nom­i­na­tions process on un­bri­dled am­bi­tions by peo­ple who be­lieved they were big­ger than the party. Man­tashe de­scribed the in­ci­dents as “spo­radic” and said they were due to some ANC pro­vin­cial lead­ers’ im­ma­tu­rity. He said ANC pro­vin­cial lead­ers were “not the same in terms of the level of ma­tu­rity”, and those who were better pre­pared to deal with the chal­lenges dur­ing the nom­i­na­tions did better than oth­ers. “Peo­ple con­test for these po­si­tions. In that process, oth­ers get elim­i­nated. Oth­ers who think they must be coun­cil­lors at all costs be­come in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates,” said Man­tashe. He said the ANC was an or­gan­i­sa­tion that con­tin­ued to grow and re­cruit mem­bers. “If we only had mem­bers who were there be­fore 1990, I am sure the ANC would be sta­ble.” He said the ANC had opened its doors wide af­ter 1990 and many peo­ple had joined the party, “some be­cause they were am­bi­tious”. “Qual­ity does not fall from the sky, you con­vert quan­tity into qual­ity,” Man­tashe said, adding that there were three meth­ods avail­able to im­prove the qual­ity of mem­bers. “First is po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion school, sec­ond is ac­tivism, be­cause in ac­tivism you learn from oth­ers, and third is the abil­ity to ex­e­cute tasks given to you,” he said.

IN­DOMITABLE ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe blames the vi­o­lence dur­ing the party’s coun­cil­lor nom­i­na­tions process on un­bri­dled am­bi­tions by im­ma­ture lead­ers

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