Election 2021: Ramaphosa pledges rigorous vetting of mayoral candidates to avoid party's past failures

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President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during the launch of the ANC's electoral manifesto in Pretoria.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during the launch of the ANC's electoral manifesto in Pretoria.
Guillem SARTORIO / AFP
  • According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, South African voters want simple things like water and electricity.
  • As he launched the ruling party's local government election manifesto on Monday, Ramaphosa admitted to the party's past mistakes.
  • Ramaphosa says this time around the ANC are doing things differently.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South African voters want simple things like water and electricity, while admitting that the party has not always put the best people in positions of responsibility in government.

On Monday, during the party's manifesto launch, Ramaphosa made several commitments to the electorate at the party's local government election manifesto launch.

Ramaphosa said:

South Africans want water, electricity, sanitation, and refuse removal. Simple things. People want a local government that gives jobs and livelihoods. Our people want protection against crimes and gangsters who extort money from infrastructure projects and companies. Local businesses from unfair competition and unregistered business and do not want to pay expensive license fees which eats into the little profit they make.

Amid a total collapse of governance and service delivery in mostly ANC municipalities across the country, Ramaphosa admitted to the ANC's past mistakes.

"We have not always put the best people in positions of responsibility. Too often, we have been slow to act when our public representatives and leaders committed wrongdoing when they abused their position or failed in implementing the mandate that you gave them," he said.

In her 2019-20 financial year local government reports, Auditor-General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke reported R26 billion in irregular expenditure by the country's municipalities.

READ | Elections 2021: All you need to know

Out of the 257 municipalities across the country, only 27 received clean audits. According to Maluleke's figures, 89 were unqualified, 66 were qualified, six were adverse, and 12 were disclaimed, while audits in 57 municipalities were not completed.

However, Ramaphosa promised that competent people had been selected as ward councillor candidates.

Members of the African National Congress (ANC) sin
ANC supporters sing ahead of Cyril Ramaphosa's address during the party's manifesto launch in Tshwane.

For the first time since 1994, the ANC has involved communities in the selection of its ward candidates.

"We are committed to making sure that municipal staff are competent, experienced and have the necessary support to execute their duties in service to communities.

Rigorous

"As part of the renewal of our movement, and to strengthen local government leadership, we have implemented a rigorous interview process to select ANC mayoral candidates.

Members of the African National Congress (ANC) sta
ANC supporters pictured during the party's manifesto launch on Monday.

"This is to 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. Many municipalities are confronted by corruption and mismanagement, which divert crucial resources needed to meet the needs of the people," he said.

Ramaphosa went further, saying the ANC wants competent people in charge and the party did not want "fly by nights" in charge of municipalities.

"This evening, we pledge to you – the people of South Africa – that we will do better. We have not always done the best that we were meant to do."

ANC Youth League convenor Nonceba Mhlauli said: "Now is the time to put our shoulders to work for progress. Comrades, we saw some parties launching manifestos. They have shown that their manifestos are not worth the paper it is on. They have no plan for this country. Do not be swayed by populists."

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini said the structure is firmly behind the ANC.

"We still believe in the movement. Because we believe it is the intent of the ANC that their lives should change for the better," she said.

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

President of the ANC Veterans' League Snuki Zikalala called on the party's candidates not to fall prey to corrupt activities.

"To liberate our people, we must end the abuse of power and non-service delivery. The local government elections are part of bringing back our integrity of the movement," he said.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said while challenges between alliance partners will always prevail, work has been done to overcome teething issues.

SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande said the ANC has admitted to its mistakes.

"Only the ANC can do that," he said.

The manifesto launch was attended by former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe. 

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