ANC to discuss outcome of probe into manipulation of election lists

The African National Congress (ANC) is set to discuss the outcome of its probe into how its local government lists were manipulated to include undeserving councillors last year, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said this week.

The party faced community protests when its councillors were being rejected ahead of municipal elections in May last year, and decided to investigate the appointments after the polls.

President Jacob Zuma promised at the time that all of those who were fraudulently placed on the lists would be removed from their positions.

It was alleged that the candidate lists were manipulated by the party’s gatekeepers, some of whom were accused of promoting their favourite people. This occurred as the ANC allowed the public to screen and approve councillor candidates for the first time. Complaints were made that some people rejected by communities were on the election lists.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in her capacity as a member of the national executive committee, has been heading up the ANC’s investigation.

The ANC will hold a special national executive committee meeting on Monday to discuss local government issues, including Ms Dlamini-Zuma’s report.

The auditor-general’s report on the poor state of local government finances, released last month, and the ANC’s own monitoring report on municipal performances will also be tabled, Mr Mantashe said.

As head of the party’s probe, Ms Dlamini-Zuma visited all provinces in the past 12 months, listening to complaints that some of the ANC’s councillors were not approved by communities, and should therefore not have made it onto local government lists.

A national executive committee member said he expected the report to expose the problems over the appointments of some Eastern Cape mayors. The mayor of Buffalo City, Zukiswa Ncitha, could be affected as it was claimed she was pushed up the list.

There were also complaints that some party officials were dropped off the lists submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission in regions in the former Transkei.

There have been calls for those found guilty of manipulating the process to be expelled, and those who became councillors and mayors as a result to be removed. But removing ward councillors could be a problem in areas where the ANC does not have a guaranteed majority, considering the trend of lower ANC turnout during by-elections. There have been instances where the ANC has lost by-elections to the Democratic Alliance, which meant the party would think twice about removing a ward councillor in case it lost the ward.

Mr Mantashe said the special meeting would also discuss a report on the state of local government by its monitoring unit, headed by Jessie Duarte. At the time of the release of the auditor-general’s report, ANC officials said they were not surprised at the extent of the problems as Ms Duarte’s unit noticed the same trends.