Why the ANC may be stuck with 'rotten apples' on its party lists until after elections

2019-04-04 19:00
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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The ANC insists its integrity committee will be the forum that makes final decisions on who should represent the party in Parliament and provincial legislatures, even though the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) deadline has come and gone.

Speaking to News24 on Thursday, acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete said the integrity committee may ask affected members to step down from its lists if they were found wanting.

The move to assess the list follows a national executive committee (NEC) decision to send its list of candidates to the committee for review.

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told News24 on Wednesday the integrity committee will make the final ruling on who should step down.

It was earlier reported that senior leaders within the ANC were placing their trust on the integrity commission's might to remove delinquent candidates from its national and provincial lists.

One ANC insider within the NEC said the party was also counting on the IEC's vetting process to remove the party's "rotten apples". 

READ: How the ANC plans to block rotten apples from parliament, cabinet positions

The integrity committee, which comprises members elected from the party's elders, investigates those who bring the ANC into disrepute. 

IEC spokesperson Kate Bopela told News24 that the window period for parties to withdraw candidates had already lapsed.

Bopela said this included candidates who wanted to voluntarily withdraw from the lists.

The cut-off date was March 28. 

"A withdrawal of a candidate is not permitted... Parties cannot amend their submitted list but can substitute a candidate who is on more than one party list," she said. 

News24 understands that party nominees will only be allowed to voluntarily resign or step aside before the swearing in at a legislature or Parliament. 

Allegations

This means that the ANC will have no choice but to forge ahead with its current list, which has placed the party under a microscope.

Some of its nominees for the National Assembly have been implicated in allegations of corruption and state capture. 

Dakota, however, insists that if the integrity committee objects to a party member on its lists, they would have to resign.

"After a considerable number of people in society, elders of ANC and church leaders raised issues of morality and ethical questions, the NEC made a decision and saw it prudent to allow all lists to go [through] the integrity process. If the integrity commission comes to a decision against a member, they can ask Dakota, [for example], to tender a resignation.

"You will have to voluntarily opt out or resign. That is why we didn't want to single out members. You must remember there are a lot of findings against members - not just the ones that appear on your lips. There are other inquiries and findings about many on our lists.... Everyone must be put to the test," he said. 

Legoete added that a decision by the integrity committee could only be overruled by the NEC or any constitutional process of the ANC.

The ANC replied to the IEC on Wednesday regarding objections to its lists. 

READ: Corruption, lies, killings, rape - the allegations against some of the ANC'S list candidates

Legoete said: "Those objections were raised, and we had to reply by 12:00 of which we did. What's left is for the IEC, on its own, to check whether members comply."

The IEC has until April 8 to make a decision on objections.

After this, candidates will have to appeal to the Electoral Court before the April 11 deadline.

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Read more on:    anc  |  iec  |  elections 2019  |  politics
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