Durban – The ANC’s electoral committee will be under scrutiny this week as it announces the 18 candidates for the top six positions ahead of the elective conference.
The focus will be on how it treats leading presidential candidates Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Once candidates accept the nominations, the electoral committee will investigate whether they are affected by the rules that prevent certain members from standing, such as those found guilty of or facing charges of serious crime, and issues of ethical or immoral conduct.
Mkhize lobbyists have raised concerns that he might be targeted because of the Digital Vibes matter and say they will watch how the committee treats the issue of Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm scandal, as while the president has not been charged, there are serious ethical issues at play.
Also of concern, they say, has been the recent comments of deputy president candidate Paul Mashatile in the North West, where he said he would be available for the position of party president and raised concerns about the impact of the Phala Phala and Digital Vibes scandals, saying this could be the death knell for the party in the elections.
However, an ANC clarification, purportedly from Mashatile, said his comments were distorted.
“I said allegations of corruption affect the ANC negatively in general; however, the publication rephrased this out of context and put names of people I never mentioned in isolation.”
Mashatile was nominated by KZN branches to be Mkhize’s deputy, but concerns have been raised that Mashatile has not reciprocated this support in Gauteng and that he is vying for the presidential position because he is untainted by corruption allegations.
Nathi Xulu, the regional secretary of KZN’s Musa Dladla region, said the challenge they faced was supporting people who supported their preferred candidate for president.
“In this province we support Mkhize for president and Paul, who hails from Gauteng, for deputy and Stanley
Mathabatha, who hails from Limpopo, for chairperson. We had expected both of them to convene delegates in Gauteng and Limpopo and to convince delegates to support Mkhize,” said Xulu.
He said numbers were needed at the elective conference to influence policy decisions and to choose leaders, and they would look at other candidates if they were not convinced that support was working both ways.
Xulu said Mkhize was challenging the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report and branches in the province were fully behind him in his candidacy.
EThekwini regional spokesperson Mondli Mkhize said they would comment in detail after the nomination process was concluded.
“It is expected that provinces would discuss and negotiate on preferred candidates, but this is not guaranteed.
“In Mpumalanga, Mkhize is the preferred candidate for president but they have not nominated Mashatile for deputy. Each province has different dynamics,” he said.
Senior ANC sources in the province said they felt betrayed by Mashatile, who appeared to be endorsing himself for president of the party.
“We see from the results of nominations that the Gauteng PEC did not pronounce on Mkhize. This has raised doubts about the honesty of Mashatile. KZN is not comfortable with him and there
might be a change in who the province nominates for deputy president.”
Another source said Mkhize would have to survive the National Executive Committee and any decision it would make if the electoral committee found that he could not stand as a candidate.
“There is a feeling that if Mkhize is affected by the step-aside resolution and cannot stand for election, then questions will be raised about the president’s eligibility. That will create a new dynamic … where both are disqualified, but this is unlikely. If only Mkhize is disqualified, then that creates another issue with heavy focus expected on the president and his issues.”
A Parliament-appointed independent panel of experts has until November 30 to determine whether Ramaphosa has a case to answer regarding the Phala Phala farm scandal.
The panel was formed after the ATM submitted a motion of no confidence against Ramaphosa after former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid a criminal case against Ramaphosa and former head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Wally Rhoode, for allegedly kidnapping and torturing five men and a woman to reveal where they concealed millions in foreign currency stolen from the president’s farm.
Mkhize resigned as health minister in August 2021 when he was implicated in the irregular awarding of contracts to Digital Vibes. He has gone to court to have the SIU report reviewed and set aside.