Elections 2021: Being popular won't guarantee you the mayorship - Ramaphosa warns ANC candidates

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  • The ANC said its past mistakes of selecting mayoral candidates based on popularity have forced it to use a new selection process.
  • This requires candidates to be endorsed by communities before being put through an extensive interview process.
  • This was revealed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a pre-manifesto launch briefing in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Sunday evening.

ANC election candidates need more than just popularity. They need the backing of communities, the necessary skill set, right work ethic and moral aptitude to be considered as councillors and, more importantly, as mayoral candidates.

This was the message of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa at a media briefing in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Sunday evening.

"If you are the popular one and number one on the list, it doesn't mean you are guaranteed the mayorship. This is a new era we are ushering in," Ramaphosa said.

READ | ANC in Tshwane mired in candidate selection disputes

In the past, ANC provincial executive committees nominated candidates and preferred mayors based on popularity, said Ramaphosa.

However, the ANC now had a more rigorous selection criteria that required candidates to first be endorsed by communities. He said candidates undergo an interview process where "the most qualified and not the most liked emerges as the preferred candidate".

"In choosing candidates for the next term of local government, the ANC was determined that we should deepen community participation in the process and assign oversight of the selection process to an electoral committee led by the elders of our movement.

"We want candidates who enjoy the confidence of the people they are expected to serve, who are rooted in communities and who have a strong record of service. We want our candidates to reflect the great diversity of the South African people, reinforcing the reality that the African National Congress - more than any other political formation in our country - represents the interests and the aspirations of the South African nation," said Ramaphosa.

Political leaders need to send a clear message to their followers that Covid-19 is still around.

The ANC used the media briefing to introduce 16 councillor candidates from across the country. The party said the individuals were a sample size of how the election of candidates had been carried out for "the nearly 10 000 ANC candidates from across the country" who will contest the 2021 local government elections on 1 November.

"These 4 937 PR candidates and 4 468 ward candidates went through a rigorous and robust democratic process to select the most capable and committed representatives to work with the people of this country to build better communities," said Ramaphosa.

Earlier in the day, Ramaphosa, who led the ANC's election campaign in Ekurhuleni, was confronted by angry residents who demanded to know why their preferred candidate was not on the candidates list. They said a candidate not selected by them had made the final ANC list submitted to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).

"We must acknowledge that the selection process was not without its difficulties," Ramaphosa said in response.

He added that there "were several disputes about the process, allegations of undue interference, and isolated acts of violence and intimidation", which the ANC "deeply regrets".

However, he assured communities that "for the most part", the candidates on the list were "democratically elected through an inclusive, free and fair processes".

Ramaphosa said the ANC electoral committee, led by former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, will continue to improve the candidate selection process and deal with lapses and shortcomings if disputes over the final lists continued.

Ramaphosa urged the candidates to be the "embodiment of ethical servant leadership, to fight against corruption and mismanagement and continually improve the functioning of local government – to be the best councillors our nation has seen".

He said the ANC demanded that elected officials "stay close to the communities that have entrusted them with a solemn mandate and ensure that every person who is placed in this crucial leadership position in ANC-led municipalities has the experience, capabilities and commitment to fulfil that responsibility".

Ramaphosa praised the fact that 25% of the nearly 10 000 ANC candidates were young people and 46% were women.

The ANC will launch its election manifesto on Monday evening in Tshwane, a metro it lost to a DA-led coalition after the 2016 local government elections.

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