A top six of scandals: A closer look at those nominated to lead the ANC

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ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa with treasurer-general Paul Mashatile at the ANC's 6th National Policy Conference in July.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa with treasurer-general Paul Mashatile at the ANC's 6th National Policy Conference in July.
Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images
  • The ANC has announced its top six nominees as the party gears up for its elective conference in December. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the ANC presidency nomination list while Zweli Mkhize lags behind. 
  • News24 has compiled a list of scandals that have plagued the people vying for the ANC's most powerful positions. 

The ANC is set to have a new leadership when the party emerges from its elective conference next month. However, most of the leaders who have made the cut as candidates for the ANC's top six positions have one form of scandal or another hanging over them.

Despite these names making it onto the ballot, ANC’s electoral committee secretary Livhuwani Matsila told News24 that the committee would be writing to the ANC's national executive committee to speed up the processing of outstanding reports from the party's integrity committee.

Matsila said reports that could affect any candidate would be prioritised as the committee still had the discretion to disqualify those found to be tarnishing the party's image.

ANC presidency nominations 

South Africa attracted international attention when President Cyril Ramaphosa found himself entangled in allegations of money laundering, undermining the rule of law, and kidnapping. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa in ANC regalia on stage
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Elizabeth Sejake

This was after former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid criminal charges against the president and his head of security, General Wally Rhoode, in June.

Fraser claimed that Ramaphosa tried to cover up a robbery at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo, where robbers made off with the undisclosed amount of American dollars hidden in furniture.

READ | Ramaphosa wants Phala Phala investigations speedily concluded

The former spy boss also claimed the president's security detail illegally tracked down the five suspected robbers in neighbouring Namibia, repatriated them and later interrogated and assaulted them.

In addition to an investigation by the Hawks into the allegations, Parliament has also instituted a Section 89 process to determine if Ramaphosa has a case to answer.

The party's integrity commission is also looking into the allegations and has yet to reach an outcome.

Zweli Mkhize, the former health minister who is set to go head-to-head with Ramaphosa, also has a cloud hanging over his head.

zweli mkhize
Zweli Mkhize. (Supplied)

During a presentation to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in October, Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head, advocate Andy Mothibe, said that despite Mkhize's resignation, he could be criminally charged for his role in the awarding of a Digital Vibes communications contract.

Under Mkhize, the health department in 2019 awarded the R150 million contract to Digital Vibes, a company he is allegedly linked to.

Mkhize has been accused of reportedly pressuring officials to appoint the company.

READ | Digital Vibes scandal: 'The investigation is at a very advanced stage' - Hawks

The department initially contracted Digital Vibes for the National Health Insurance campaign in 2019 when Mkhize reportedly pressured officials to appoint the agency for the contract. The work was expanded to include communications on Covid-19.

The SIU in October said it had not cleared anyone in the Digital Vibes matter and that the case was currently pending in the High Court.

Mkhize has maintained his innocence.

ANC deputy president contenders 

Despite leading the nominations for deputy presidency, there are also allegations of wrongdoing against Paul Mashatile.

ANC leadership, Treasurer General Paul Mashatile a
Paul Mashatile. (Image: Gallo Images)
Christopher Moagi

During Mashatile's reign as human settlements MEC, the Gauteng government was accused of squandering R1.3 billion meant to improve Alexandra, one of South Africa's poorest and most densely populated communities.

The money was meant to fund the now-controversial Alexandra Renewal Project.

Mashatile has maintained that there was never an actual amount of R1.3 billion, which he said was based on budgets from various provincial government departments.

He has filed R2 million in lawsuits against EFF leader Julius Malema, the EFF and the then EFF Gauteng leader Mandisa Mashego for defamation of character after he was called a thief, among other names. 

While he has not been directly implicated in any scandal, a law firm linked to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola was embroiled in allegations of fraud over a R2 million Road Accident Fund claim.

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 27: Ronald Lamola is
Ronald Lamola (Photo: Gallo Images)

This was contained in three forensic reports compiled by a high-profile firm of attorneys commissioned by the National Lotteries Commission to investigate corruption with lottery funding.

Lamola was a director in the law firm, Ndobela Lamola Inc  but resigned.

The reports found that documents submitted by the law firm were allegedly filled with forged documents, while the financial statements attached made no sense.

Oscar Mabuyane, the other candidate for the deputy presidency, found himself in hot water after a report by the 2021 Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released in October 2021 showed how political leaders in the Eastern Cape unduly benefitted from the memorial service tender funds for the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memorial.

Newly elected ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Chairper
Oscar Mabuyane. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo Images)

Mabuyane and ANC provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela were found to have unduly benefitted from the fund.

The report found that at least R450 000, pocketed by Mabuyane, was used to renovate his home.

Mabuyane said he would take the Public Protector's damning report on judicial review.

ANC chairperson contenders 

ANC Limpopo chairperson Stanley Mathabatha, who received 1 492 branch nominations and is in pole position to become the national chairperson if nods from ANC structures are anything to go by, found himself in hot water after a court criticised him for showing favouritism. 

Stanley Mathabatha
Stanley Mathabatha. (Photo: Rosetta Msimango)

This was after he demonstrated bias towards relatives of his ANC comrade, MP Joseph Maswanganyi, when he recognised them as a traditional community and issued a certificate to Maswanganyi as a senior traditional leader.

Polokwane High Court Judge Gerrit Muller issued an order setting aside Mathabatha’s decision to recognise the Maswanganyi traditional community and Khayizeni Maswanganyi as a senior traditional leader.

Nevertheless, Mathabatha allegedly went ahead and issued a certificate of recognition to Maswanganyi. 

Incumbent ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe admitted in 2019 when he and his head of security, Mzonke Nyakaza, took members of the media on a tour at his Boksburg home that the infamous company, Bosasa, had installed the CCTV cameras and perimeter lights at Mantashe's three homes.

South African ruling party African National Congre
Gwede Mantashe. (Image: AFP)

The state capture commission found that Mantashe should be probed for corruption after it emerged that he received the security installations without charge.

Mantashe is taking the report on review. 

David Masondo, who is also in the running for the ANC’s national chairperson position, stands accused of using his influence and state resources to settle a personal score with an ex-mistress by having her arrested by the Hawks for extortion.

Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo.
Gallo Images Ziyaad Douglas, Gallo Images

The ANC’s integrity commission recommended in August 2020 that he step down from both his positions in government and within the party.

He hit back at the commission, saying his former girlfriend had harassed his family and threatened to kill his children. Masondo added that he would wait for the ruling party to decide on his future.  

ANC secretary-general contenders 

The ANC secretary-general race is being led by Mdumiseni Ntuli, who has no known scandals plaguing his political career. He is the former ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary. 

Mdumiseni Ntuli. (Photo: Darren Stewart / Gallo Images)

Following sharply behind him is Phumulo Masaulle, the former premier of the Eastern Cape. 

Masaulle served as the MEC for finance in 2013 when R300 million intended to finance the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela was misappropriated, according to the Public Protector's report. 

The report found that R250 000 had been deposited into his personal bank account during this time. 

Another contender for the ANC SG position is Fikile Mbalula, who has morphed into an entertainment symbol and political shapeshifter since graduating from the ANC Youth League. 

Minister Fikile Mbalula. (Image: Gallo Images)
Gallo Images Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier

In 2018, Mbalula was found by Mkhwebane to have benefitted from a R680 000 holiday to Dubai paid for by a company who supplied his department. 

The Public Protector has asked the authorities to investigate Mbalula on possible corruption and money laundering charges.

Mkhwebane has referred the matter to the Financial Intelligence Centre and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Mbalula, who serves as the minister of transport, was found last year to have irregularly appointed three advisers in his office and overpaid them millions of rands. The appointments contravened the Public Service Act, according to Mkhwebane. 

READ | Public Protector report claims Fikile Mbalula overpaid three of his advisors

There are two women nominated for the ANC deputy secretary-general position. 

Febe Potgieter, who has no known scandals, works at the ANC headquarters overseeing the day-to-day running of the party. 

Febe Potgieter. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

She has had to contend with the suspension of former ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus and the ANC's inability to pay its staff salaries on time. 

Nomvula Mokonyane, who leads in the deputy SG position with the highest nominations, has a scandal record that spans her time serving in the provincial and national government. 

The focus here will be on her most recent allegations of corruption. 

Nomvula Mokonyane.(Photo: Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi)

Her most notable political image has been her implication in the Zondo Commission report. 

She was found to have benefitted from a corrupt relationship with Bosasa. 

Zondo found that Mokonyane should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for gratifications financed by Bosasa for her benefit and that of the ANC. 

Bosasa hired a car for Mokonyane's daughter, paid her R50 000 a month, gave her Christmas and birthday gifts, and provided security installations at her home. Mokonyane has denied that she benefitted from a corrupt relationship with Bosasa. 

She has served as Gauteng's premier and water and sanitation minister. 

While serving as the minister in the water and sanitation department, Mokonyane was embroiled in a scandal that found she had forced through a "war on leaks" campaign that cost the department R3 billion. 

An internal audit, as News24 reported, had found the project failed because it was not appropriately implemented, leading to R600 million in wasteful expenditure. The SIU is probing the project based on the internal report's findings. 

Mokonyane was also implicated in a R2.6 million soap tender related to the Gauteng government's Covid-19 personal protective equipment scandals. 

The Gauteng health department awarded a contract to a company registered in Mokonyane and her daughter's name. The SIU found there were irregularities in awarding this tender. 

Treasurer-general nominees 

Leading the pack in this group is Ramaphosa's political adviser and businessman, Bejani Chauke.

Bejani Chauke. (Photo: Susan Cilliers)
Netwerk24 Susan Cilliers

Chauke previously moved in the shadows of Ramaphosa's support, but his name has featured regularly in recent months. 

Fraser recently named Chauke as the man who may know about the Phala Phala criminal investigation.

Fraser is reported to have pointed to Chauke's frequent international trips as worthy of being criminally investigated by the Hawks. 

Chauke has denied that there was anything untoward about his international travel and that he brought in any foreign currency, City Press reported. 

READ | Ramaphosa gives green light for SIU to probe firm allegedly linked to ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe is the second runner-up for the position of treasurer-general. Mabe has had his fair share of corruption scandals, dating back to his time as the treasurer-general of the ANC Youth League. In 2014, Mabe was arrested for fraud and corruption charges linked to allegations that he, and associates, had siphoned money from the South African Social Security Agency.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe. (Image: Daily Sun)
Daily Sun PHOTO: Daily Sun

Mabe is also facing a probe by the SIU into a R27 million tender award by the Ekurhuleni municipality and Gauteng government to his company, Enviro Mobi. 

Mabe's company was contracted to supply 200 portable, three-wheel motorised waste collection vehicles. The vehicles were never delivered, according to reports on the matter. 

Mzwandile Masina, who currently serves as the Ekurhuleni regional chairperson of the ANC, has recently been blamed for jeopardising a possible coalition arrangement between the EFF and the ANC.

Mzwandile Masina. (Photo by Gallo Images/OJ Koloti)
Gallo Images

He served as the mayor of Ekurhuleni from 2016 to 2021. Masina was implicated in an R1.6 billion toilet tender that supplied poorly built toilets to communities. 

Masina denied any involvement in the scandal. 

Editor's note: Subsequent to the publication of this article, Masondo's team noted that he was cleared by the Public Protector, the NPA and the Commission for Gender Equality. 

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