The list is the clearest answer to why corruption has become so endemic in this country under President Jacob Zuma. The nominations confirm that the organisation rewards political loyalty over excellence and merit.
The list, littered with names of dodgy comrades, indicates that the ruling party priori-tises looking after its questionable cronies above stepping up the fight against corruption.
Prominent on the list is disgraced former communications minister Dina Pule, who was nailed by public protector Thuli Madonsela for among other transgressions ensuring that her boyfriend’s company pocketed millions from a contract awarded by her department.
Also featuring on the list is former Gauteng local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, who was sacked after abusing his state-issued credit card.
Other names of party loyalists include ANC Northern Cape chairperson John Block, former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe and former ANC Youth League leader Andile Lungisa. All three are separately facing myriad charges including theft, fraud and money laundering.
Bizarrely, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe insists there’s nothing wrong with endorsing someone like Pule, whose conduct was slated by Madonsela. Mantashe claims the ANC takes Madonsela’s findings seriously, “but we do know that the office of the Public Protector is not a court of law”.
Mantashe can go on defending the indefensible, but no amount of spin will remove the harsh reality that the ANC does not even shy away from handsomely rewarding those convicted by the courts with lucrative public office positions.
Our current minister of social development, Bathabile Dlamini, who has been placed an enviable eighth on the ANC’s list of 200 candidates, was convicted and fined by the court in 2006 after pleading guilty to theft and fraud charges stemming from abuse of parliamentary travel vouchers.
She pleaded guilty to fraud involving an amount of R254 000. She was sentenced to a fine of R120 000 and a further five years’ imprisonment suspended conditionally for 5 years.
Another Travelgate convict, Ruth Bhengu, who was slapped with two years’ imprisonment and given a three-year suspended sentence by the courts, was elevated from being an ordinary member of parliament to chairperson of the portfolio committee on transport – one of the many questionable promotions under Zuma.
Bhengu is placed 46th on the ANC list of candidates for Parliament. Even Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who probably holds a record for bunking Parliament, has been endorsed and is 29th on the list. She was convicted of kidnapping and was found guilty on 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft in 2001.
Contrary to Zuma and the ANC’s rhetoric on the fight against corruption, the ANC’s selection of convicts and cadres who find themselves in conflict with the law clearly condones theft of public resources and abuse of power.
This is precisely the kind of attitude that has allowed the culture of self-enrichment to flourish in South Africa.