... and don't expect them to stop choosing dodgy candidates
Unless it stops operating as if it is still a banned movement, tainted characters will keep swelling its ranks
An ANC leader once boasted that the corruption allegations against him, which were splashed in a weekly newspaper, had made him popular with the ladies.
“Chief, if women read about you being accused of stealing money, they think you have money.”
He repeated this ridiculous claim when we met recently – after another story linked him to a dodgy contract.
It is not my forte to judge women’s relationship choices, and frankly it’s none of my business.
However, we are allowed to judge the ANC for harbouring, and elevating to senior positions, individuals with questionable ethics and zero integrity.
The leader is one of a long list of controversial individuals who, despite walking around with dark clouds hanging over their heads, somehow repeatedly get elected to influential positions within the ANC.
The public outcry over the election of Brian Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu to the top leadership in Gauteng – and that of Mike Mabuyakhulu as deputy chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal – is justified.Of course the three have not been found guilty by any court of law, but their election shows just how the ANC election process is immune to logic.
It has always been the case.
It goes back to the the arms deal, South Africa’s biggest corruption scandal. Even back then the party failed to act against individuals whose names were implicated.
Even after his friend and financial advisor was convicted of corruption and fraud, Jacob Zuma kept his position as deputy president of the ANC. He went on to occupy the highest position in the party in 2007 despite facing more than 700 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering.
Tony Yengeni, who was convicted of fraud in 2003, keeps getting elected to the party’s highest decision-making structure – the NEC.
The ANC MPs who were convicted in connection with Travelgate, including Bathabile Dlamini, were never disciplined; instead some were promoted.
John Block, who was accused of corruption, was elected chairperson of the Northern Cape and served in the provincial cabinet until he was found guilty in 2015. The list is endless.
Unless the ANC stops operating like it is still a banned liberation movement, and makes fundamental reforms to its electoral processes, dodgy characters will keep swelling the party’s ranks.
The current election process is open to manipulation by party strongmen who control lower structures through regional and branch leaders who are beneficiaries of their patronage.Delegates who vote in these conferences are hand-picked by which ever faction is more powerful in a particular area. It is only those who come with a significant number of “his/her branches” who make it on the ballot.
Without fail, each and every conference is always marred by allegations of monies having exchanged hands.
Tales of how delegates are herded like cattle not to mix with the opposing faction during conferences are legendary. In some cases delegates are moved from the accommodation provided by the party. No one ever accounts for where the money to feed, accommodate and entertain delegates is coming from.
Of course there are great men and women of integrity in the ANC leadership, but history has taught us that in order to stand a good chance to win an election within the ANC you have to be prepared to get your hands dirty – or have someone getting theirs dirty on your behalf.