Election lists are the latest battleground in the war for control of the ANC, and control of the country.
Right now the lists are top-heavy with supporters of Jacob Zuma, represented by Ace Magashule. These rotten apples are a liability. ANC election head Fikile Mbalula on Monday admitted the party is facing a backlash over corruption allegations.
He said the election lists could be changed at the request of the party’s integrity commission. But until the alleged crooks are actually removed from the lists, we have reason to doubt the party’s integrity commission is worthy of its name.
Thus far the commission has been bereft of integrity and effectiveness. During Zuma’s decade as ANC president, there was no integrity. The election of new members to the commission in July last year changed nothing. No prominent ANC member has been held to account.
What’s different now? Mbalula said candidates would have to step aside if asked to do so by the integrity commission. Business Day quoted ANC national spokesperson Dakota Legoete saying any decision by the integrity commission was binding. That assertion has yet to be tested. Until now, integrity commission decisions have been subject to approval by the national executive committee.
If the integrity commission were to do its job, Magashule would be among the first casualties, along with Deputy President David Mabuza and Zuma-philes such as Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile Dlamini, Gwede Mantashe, Malusi Gigaba and Mosebenzi Zwane.
If being under investigation by a Chapter Nine institution were a criterion, Pravin Gordhan would be in the firing line because the public protector is gunning for him. Gordhan is in the Ramaphosa camp but a genuine integrity cleanout would take a heavier toll on the other side.
Almost daily there are predictions about the balance of forces within the ANC. Who has the most support? Experts who assert that Ramaphosa has the upper hand in the NEC are guessing.
The preponderance of shady characters on the election lists presents a danger to Ramaphosa as president. His enemies are candidates in electable positions.
According to the South African Constitution, the president is elected not by voters but by MPs. Assuming the ANC wins a majority of National Assembly seats, there is no guarantee Ramaphosa will become president. It is not impossible that Mabuza, Magashule or someone else could be elected in a secret ballot.
The mere possibility exposes the folly of folk who imagine that they can “vote for Cyril” on May 8. You can vote only for a party. And if you vote ANC you could end up with a president who is the main non-fictional character in the new book Gangster State – Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.
The bad guys will not relinquish their places on the gravy train merely because of a request from a toothless integrity commission. Like their mentor Zuma, they will employ Stalingrad tactics, fighting every street and every corner.
It is highly likely the ANC lists will stay substantially the same. And you can’t be sure whom the African National Crooks will choose as president. Remember that when you tick the ballot paper.