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Siyamtanda Capa
4 minute read
20 Apr 2021
07:30

‘Will anyone be left to lead the ANC?’

Siyamtanda Capa

If the ANC is serious about asking its members to step aside, who will be left behind to represent the party?

If the ANC is serious about asking its members to step aside, who will be left behind to represent the party?

This was the question posed by a political analyst on Monday after the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal submitted a list of 13 names of members who might have to step aside as per last month’s national executive committee (NEC) resolution.

The party has given members who are criminally charged until April 30 to step aside or risk suspension from the ANC.

Earlier this month The Witness reported that the fates of about 10 senior ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal were unclear under the “step-aside rule”.

The charges range from corruption to murder.

ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party’s highest decision making body, the NEC, would work on the finer details. He said the number of members facing criminal charges worried them.

“We are worried that people are being charged and we are worried that cases are dragging out, we were hoping that the cases could be expedited but that is out of our control. We can worry all we want but that is out of our control,” said Ntombela.

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He said he was not privy to the recent list, however, the first list included a councillor from Ladysmith. He said the charges have since been withdrawn.

“Some of these cases like the Zandile Gumede case and Mike Mabuyakhulu are in court. KZN has a peculiar challenge because these cases have been dragging out,” said Ntombela.

Gumede, the former eThekwini mayor is facing charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering linked to a 2017 R320 million waste management contract.

Mabuyakhulu is one of the accused in the R28 million North Sea Jazz Festival corruption case.

“The NEC must finalise the list because some people are public representatives, for example the SG [secretary- general] stepping aside doesn’t mean he will forfeit the benefits, but we expect the top six to finalise those details,” said Ntombela.

Political analyst Dr Protas Madlala questioned how the rule would be enforced, calling it “a public relations exercise”. Madlala said: “This will reboot and re-boost the image of the party. The ANC’s brand is currently equivalent to corruption.

“The ANC’s brand has been badly damaged because of people who are enriching themselves but this is a necessary PR exercise.”
Political analyst Dr Protas Madlala

“My biggest concern is the criminal justice system and how slow it is. This is a necessary PR exercise but what will happen to their salaries? How will this affect them personally, will they vacate state houses and what will happen to the rest of their benefits? asked Madlala.

Madlala said the rule had contradictions and lacked detail. “It should tell us what will happen to salaries otherwise they are just on suspension. The rule must go as far as punishing those who are criminally charged. The danger with the step aside rule is that if they are really serious it means that no one will be left behind.

“The ANC’s brand has been badly damaged because of people who are enriching themselves but this is a necessary PR exercise,” said Madlala

Madlala said the charges brought against the ANC members were of a serious nature. “The type of charges brought against them says a lot about their moral integrity, it is highly questionable,” Madlala said.

Meanwhile, another political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said the rule would be used within the party as a weapon to silence others.

“There was no clarity when the decision was taken; it was taken out of excitement. Now reality is sinking in and they can see that this is not an easy task.”
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu

“The timing of all of this is interesting because elections are coming up. If you are told to step aside and the charges are withdrawn it tarnishes your image. It says a lot because they knew all along that people are facing these charges but they are only bringing this up now?” asked Mngomezulu.

He said the initial impression that had been created was that the only people who would have to step aside were those accused of corruption.

“There was no clarity when the decision was taken; it was taken out of excitement. Now reality is sinking in and they can see that this is not an easy task.”

Ntombela responded to Madlala’s question saying that not all ANC members were facing charges.

“Not all ANC leaders are corrupt, out of 30 Provincial Executive Committee members only one was arrested, the deputy chair, [Mike Mabuyakhulu].”