Ramaphosa Urged to Clean ANC Lawmaker List for South Africa Vote

(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s push to contest general elections with a unified party is facing a challenge by key allies demanding the exclusion of candidates for parliament who are facing questions of criminal activity and integrity, including his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

While the African National Congress hasn’t released the names of candidates for elections expected in May, politicians are jostling to be at the top of the list from where lawmakers are chosen from. Zuma, who’s facing graft charges, and Bathabile Dlamini, the minister of women who perjured herself in court, and Malusi Gigaba, a ex-finance minister who was pressured to step down from the cabinet last year, were on an early version.

“There are strong, credible veterans who will sit down with the ANC’s list committee and look at each and every individual so see if they fit the party’s criteria, whether or not they have outstanding warrants and fines, and have the right qualifications,” ANC Veterans League President Snuki Zikalala said in an interview.

Ramaphosa Urged to Clean ANC Lawmaker List for South Africa Vote

The ANC split into two loose factions in 2017, with one backing Ramaphosa, 66, to succeed Zuma as its leader and the other supporting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s ex-wife and preferred candidate.

Ramaphosa, who won the battle by a razor-thin margin, needs the party to maintain a united front and win a solid mandate in the May elections to drive through policies aimed at reviving a struggling economy and attracting $100 billion in new investment.

The ANC won power in the nation’s first multiracial elections in 1994 and secured 62 percent support in the last national vote in 2014, but its share tumbled to 54.5 percent in a municipal vote in 2016, largely due to discontent over Zuma’s rule.

It now needs to demonstrate a strong commitment to moving away from Zuma’s scandal-marred administration, Zikalala, 67, said, calling the former president’s rule “10 years of madness.” On the early list of candidates, he said, there were people with no high-school degrees. “It cannot happen,” he said.

Zikalala’s comments were echoed by Solly Mapaila, the first deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party, another strong ANC ally.

“We don’t want criminals in our ranks, a case where, and in the name inclusivity, any Tom, Dick and Harry can be our representative in parliament,” he said.

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