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ANC lists show South Africa’s Ramaphosa hamstrung by a divided party

By Crystal Orderson, in Cape Town
Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 17:28

President Ramaphosa has a job to bridge divides in the ruling party. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

President Cyril Ramaphosa's 'new dawn' was given a decisive blow when the ANC released the names of their list of potential members for parliament.

For a brief few hours the #ANCLists trended on Twitter. The reason? Those included on the preliminary list included members who have been implicated in corruption and state capture.

Political parties submitted their lists of candidates for the national and provincial government to the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) this week ahead of the 8 May election.

At the top of the ANC list presented to IEC are President Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president David Mabuza and party chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

  • Others on the list include Ronald Lamola, Fikile Mbalula, Zweli Mkhize and Bheki Cele.

The final ANC list has not yet been made public.

That did not stop South Africans from expressing shock and outrage.

Journalist and Commentator Justice Malala said:

  • “The problem with the @MYANC’s proposed MP list is that it is so overwhelmingly…”
  • “Corrupt Zuma-esque Ancient Paranoid Repetitive Unimaginative Boring Tired.”
  • “Except for the fact that @CyrilRamaphosa heads it there is zero difference to the 2014 Zuma list. COULD. DO. BETTER.”

Political analyst Sunasha Naidoo added:

  • “It also raises the issue of whether the ANC is a credible party and a party of integrity.”
  • “They will not get my vote; the ANC does not deserve my vote- I do not care, NO they cannot be trusted. Who knows if Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a win for the ANC he might be recalled and kicked out of the party. No No, I cannot vote for them’ the view from a listener to a well-known talk radio station on the inclusion of several questionable names on the ANC’s top list.”

Why the anger? The ANC defended its decision to include members who have been implicated in alleged corruption. Secretary general Ace Magashule defended Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile Dlamini and Mosebenzi Zwane, saying they had done nothing wrong.

“Anybody who has not been found guilty by a court of law is on the list,” Magashule said.

And Bathabile Dlamini responded to her inclusion on the ANC list. “We are elected by the people and therefore what is there is the will of the people,” she told SABC from New York, where she is attending a United Nations event.

  • Only three women made the top 10 on the party’s national list: Nomvula Mokonyane, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Lindiwe Sisulu. “I want to congratulate every woman who made it to the top 10 because I know it is not easy,” she said.
  • In 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that Dlamini had been “reckless” and “grossly negligent” in her role as former social development minister. It also instructed the National Prosecuting Authority to consider perjury charges against her.

For Naidoo, the political analyst, the list is an indication that Ramaphosa does not have ‘space’ and ability to make the changes he wants.

  • “You have and Secretary General (Ace Magushule) who makes statements that you are innocent until proven guilty. The fact is that the individuals (Dlamini, Mokonyana and Gigaba) they had not performed or had not taken their office or the duties of ministerial office seriously.”

Ramaphosa, on the campaign trail in Soweto, said:  “To us as an organisation, as we move forward we obviously want to make sure that we continue to have people who are going to serve the interest of our people. Watch this space as we move forward.”

What does the list tell us? Ramaphosa, hamstrung by a divided ANC, is showing that he has to balance different factions. The May election is seen as the most hotly contested since 1994. This list could deal a blow to the high turnout he needs to ring the changes once elected.

And the polls? An Institute of Race Relations (IRR) poll found that nationally the ANC dropped to 54.7% support in February, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) was at 21.8% and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was at 12.2%.

  • The ANC’s support declined in the past 10 years. It fell to 53.3% nationally in the 2016 municipal elections.
  • If 71% of voters cast a vote in May, the IRR predicts that the ANC would, in the national election, win 55% (it won 62.1% in 2014) of the vote, the DA 24% (22.2%) and the EFF 11% (6.3%).

Bottom line: Don’t expect Ramaphosa’s ‘new dawn’ before the election and these are not the final lists…

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