Election 2021: Western Cape ANC applies 'step-aside' rule to candidates facing criminal charges

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  • The ANC in the Western Cape has applied the "step-aside" rule to candidates facing criminal charges. 
  • This includes the mayor of Beaufort West, the speaker of Central Karoo, and a Khayelitsha ward councillor.
  • It is contesting 406 wards in the province and hopes to not repeat the "horror" of its 2016 election performance in the province. 

The ANC in the Western Cape has applied the step-aside rule to candidates facing criminal charges, leading to at least three high profile candidates already left off its election list for the 1 November local government elections.

This includes Beaufort West Mayor Quinton Louw, Central Karoo District Municipality speaker Mkhululi Hangana, and Khayelitsha Ward 92 councillor Xolisa Peter. 

"It's no debate in the ANC now, everyone accepts that if you are charged, you need to step aside," said provincial head of elections Cameron Dugmore. 

READ | Elections 2021: All you need to know

Louw and Hangana had appeared in the Beaufort West Magistrate's Court on Friday, charged with corruption relating to tenders.

Peter was set to appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on a charge of crimen injuria for allegedly saying that another woman's buttocks were flat because she had HIV. 

Provincial convenor Lerumo Kalaka said during a media briefing that other candidates had also been removed after background checks and "other matters" identified by the party's integrity committee during a "robust" list selection process. 

The "step-aside" rule refers to a decision by the ANC that members or office bearers facing criminal charges may be suspended, or must step aside from their posts, until the court matter is concluded. 

Election

The candidate lists are submitted to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) and, after  the municipal election, candidates on those pre-submitted lists get ward councillor or proportional ward councillor positions if their party gets enough votes.

In some areas, these positions are hotly contested for the power and salaries that go with them.

Kalako said there had been 52 disputes relating to the lists, and three had been resolved so far.

The party is still waiting for a charge sheet relating to allegations that ANC Youth League leader Masibulele Tolofane had hit a woman on the head with a Savannah bottle in Gugulethu.

Adriaan Basson | This election is not about Ramaphosa, Zille or Malema - it's about potholes and power

It is also in contact with the police for updates on the murder of Khayelitsha councillor Phumeza Nomzazi, for which nobody has been arrested yet. 

In June, Cape Town ANC councillor Nokuthula Bolitye was shot dead outside her home in Crossroads, Cape Town.

The reopening of the list submission process was a respite for the ANC which had missed the original deadline, leaving the party exposed to losing multiple stronghold wards and municipalities in many regions countrywide.

READ | ConCourt dismisses DA's application to set aside reopening of candidate registration

The party intends contesting 406 wards in the Western Cape in the 1 November elections.

Kalaka said the Covid-19 pandemic had made things difficult for candidate selection and campaigning, but that the party was feeling optimistic.

"The nightmare of the 2016 local government elections will not be repeated," said Kalako. 

In that election, the party was crippled by internal feuding.

The ANC's national election manifesto will be launched on 27 September, and it said it was confident that voters had taken note of its work as an opposition party against the majority DA in the province. 

It will not be releasing the names of mayoral candidates ahead of the election.  

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