ANC local govt candidates will be picked on capability, not popularity - Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Cosatu congress in this file photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Cosatu congress in this file photo.
Jabu Kumalo
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says this year's local government elections are "a watershed moment" for South Africa as well as an opportunity for government to "reposition" the local government sphere.
  • Ramaphosa was addressing Cosatu's seventh central committee meeting on Monday, when he urged the ANC-allied labour federation to rally behind the governing party ahead of the polls.
  • The upcoming local government elections are high stakes for the ANC, after a set of minority governments caused the governing party to lose multiple metros in 2016. He said the model, which came from the party's 2017 conference, would ensure mayoral candidates went through a rigorous selection process.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ANC was at an advanced stage of "reforming" its candidate selection process for public office at a local government level ahead of November's local government elections.

Ramaphosa was addressing Cosatu's seventh central committee meeting on Monday, when he urged the ANC-allied labour federation to rally behind the governing party ahead of the polls.

Ramaphosa's address came as the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the DA to have the reopening of the Independent Electoral Commission's (IEC) candidate list process declared unlawful. This came after the ANC missed the original registration deadline in August.

The upcoming local government elections are high stakes for the ANC, after a set of minority governments caused the governing party to lose multiple metros in 2016, though most of these collapsed, putting metros back in the ANC's power years later.

READ | 'Outrageous' to exclude public servants from new rules on pension fund withdrawals - Cosatu

In his capacity as president of the ANC, Ramaphosa said this year's local government elections were "a watershed moment" for South Africa as well as an opportunity for government to "reposition" the local government sphere.

Capable people of integrity

"We expect that those who will be chosen to lead our local government will be people of integrity and who are capable and qualified to serve our people in improving service delivery across the country," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said the ANC's district development model improvements were making progress and that number of provinces are applying the model in their respective areas. Potential mayors will be "carefully selected of capability, not popularity".

"All of us agree that we must work harder to position local government to serve our people. We have started a process of carefully selecting and choosing people who will go forth and serve our people. We introduced the interview process for mayoral candidates and institutionalising this," said Ramaphosa.

READ | Cosatu's May Day call: No Eskom worker must be retrenched

Ramaphosa said senior local government officials, including chief financial officers, municipal managers and town engineers should be rigorously checked for qualifications and competence before appointment.

"We have concluded candidate process and in line with the Nasrec conference have a committee overseeing this process. There have been transgressions with the list guidelines, but the ANC has committed to investigate instances and institute disciplinary proceedings where transgressions are found," Ramaphosa said.

"The campaign that we are going into will be short, and we will have to have a campaign that is targeted, on the ground and mobilising as many people as possible to vote for the ANC," he said.

Ramaphosa reminded Cosatu central committee delegates that the tripartite alliance was "sealed in history, underpinned by the liberation struggle and strengthened by the objective of achieving the national democratic revolution".

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