The ANC Veteran’s League’s bold plans to exorcise questionable elements from the ANC election list is on track after the ANC confirmed that its national executive committee (NEC) meeting would sit today - four days later than initially scheduled.
The league is in a race against time to clean up the party’s election list before voters take to the polling booths on May 8.
This would require the ANC’s highest decision-making body to be persuaded to give the internal integrity commission more teeth.
The league’s grand plan is to lobby for the integrity commission to be given powers to initiate investigations so that it is able to call in candidates implicated in wrongdoing for interviews – and hopefully isolate from the list those who managed to slip through the cracks during the vetting process.
However, those sympathetic to the likes of Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini, who has a damning judgment against her for misleading the Constitutional Court and possible perjury charges coming her way; Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who has been implicated in multiple graft allegations; and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, who was allegedly at the centre of the state capture project and also has a damning court judgment against him, would fight hard to retain their candidates on the ANC’s public representatives list.
The veteran’s league president, Snuki Zikalala, told City Press last week that the league was pushing for the terms of reference of the commission to be amended.
Once this was done, the commission would have powers to ask controversial ANC members to appear before it.
“If the terms of reference are amended the integrity commission will have the right to call every individual. Currently, the terms of reference say the integrity commission can only deal with people referred to it by the NEC. But the amended terms of reference, which we want as veterans, are that the integrity commission should have the right to call anybody who is implicated in any unethical behaviour. We are confident that will happen,” he said.
Zikalala said the commission had to have access to the election list and “be able to look at everybody who has been nominated to go to Parliament and provincial legislatures to decide whether that person is suitable to be a public representative or not”.
The integrity commission, under the leadership of ANC veteran George Mashamba, is handicapped by the fact that its decisions must be ratified by the NEC. It is only the NEC that can amend the commission’s terms of reference.
The commission was established after the 2012 Mangaung conference to protect the ANC’s image “by ensuring ... that urgent action is taken to deal with public officials, leaders and members of the ANC who face damaging allegations of improper conduct”.
Mashamba said amendments of the commission’s terms of reference would reinforce its authority. “It will earn respect among ANC members and they listen to the commission. They will also come to us for advice,” he said.
City Press understands that the stance taken by the ANC Veteran’s League was necessitated by allegations that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule tampered with the party’s national and provincial list of candidates destined for the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
The ANC has denied these claims, saying Magashule formally submitted the final ANC candidate list to the electoral commission as part of his duties as secretary-general. The party said the list process was “democratic and transparent and complied with all relevant rules and regulations of the electoral commission”.
Former ANC deputy secretary-general Cheryl Carolus did not rule out the possibility that there had been manipulation of the party’s election list.
“The ANC list, I think we must accept, does reflect outcomes of processes that are legitimate in the ANC. Some of those processes, we know, and I have no doubt personally, still get tainted by some of the corrupt elements. They have a lot to lose here. They worry about getting into orange overalls and they have a lot of our taxpayers’ money to fund this. There may well be interference there.
“But what we are saying is that every single ANC member and every single South African who votes for us has a legitimate voice.”
Questions are also being asked as to why Luthuli House failed to submit the election list to the integrity commission for it to make recommendations to the NEC.
Mashamba said he was in the dark and did not understand why the election list was not submitted to the commission. “I don’t know why some things are brought to us and others are not. I don’t know what the difficulty is.”
He said the commission would have looked at the list and made recommendations to the NEC if it had been presented to it.
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