ANC 'won't be derailed by lawsuits'
Pretoria - The ANC will register its national list for the upcoming local government elections in two weeks without being derailed by pending lawsuits, the party's general secretary Gwede Mantashe said on Saturday.
"We only have one lawsuit and it will not stop us from continuing doing our work," Mantashe said at a press briefing in Pretoria on Saturday.
He was referring to an incident in which four party members in the Alfred Nzo region launched a lawsuit against the ANC in the past week, in a dispute over a candidate list.
The group approached the Mthatha High Court on Tuesday, submitting that decision to hold the list conference on Tuesday prior to the verification of properly constituted ANC branch meetings was illegal.
They further said the conference should not have gone ahead prior to rulings on matters being appealed, and that an audit report determining the number of delegates in respect of each branch was invalid and should be set aside.
The interim order was granted, prohibiting the ANC from submitting candidate names for local government elections.
The ANC, which was opposing the application, would have to provide reason on Thursday next week, why the interdict should not be made a final order.
Meanwhile, Mantashe reiterated that any member who took the ANC to court simply had no interest in the party and would be immediately suspended for bringing the party into disrepute, pending internal disciplinary processes.
The same would apply to the four party members who had approached the courts.
As the ANC held its NEC meeting to discuss issues of the draft list of candidates, Mantashe said they had already gone through lists submitted by branches.
He said seven of the provinces had completed the processes, while the Eastern Cape and the North West still had "issues" that needed to be sorted out.
"A majority of the Eastern Cape is almost ready in a majority of its regions. We need to re-visit them (including the North West) and engage them on some issues that came out of the lists. Overall the list is almost ready," he said.
"We'll be able to register the list early so that if there are issues raised by the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission), we at least have three days to attend to them."
The deadline that the ANC had set itself was March 22.
The IEC announced on Friday that all parties needed to submit their candidate lists by March 25.
The ANC's list process, which saw communities being invited in vetting candidates for the first time, had been marred by controversy, with some members claiming regional leaders put their own preferred candidates on lists.
Referring to continuity as one of the criteria to be considered when deliberating on lists, Mantashe pointed out that a majority of municipalities around the country suffered because of the election of new councillors into office, while only a few succeed due to the retention.
"In municipalities where we do well, retention is very high. In councils were we don't do well you see new people coming in."
The NEC would also intervene in ensuring that women are represented in lists.
Mantashe said from this process, they were hoping to come out with an overall better quality of councillors.
When asked if he believed the candidates on the lists submitted had the necessary skills to be councillors, Mantashe said the quality of councillors was "something that is assumed".
"You look at qualifications; you look into the history of the person, the involvement, the experience and assume that person has better quality."
He said a risk was when communities nominate someone because that person was very vocal, neglecting to interrogate on content.
"You find that in terms of content that person is weak and he becomes councillor and that community is going to pay the price for five years because they elected a person who talks loud without interrogating the content."
The NEC meeting was expected to conclude on Sunday, with the adoption of a list for submission to the IEC.