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
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