Tainted politicians on ANC candidate list: Business as usual – Dr Piet Croukamp

The African National Congress (ANC) reacted with anger when their candidate list for the May elections leaked due to what the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) called an “internal glitch.” An ongoing investigation by the IEC aims to determine how this leak occurred. President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his concern, stating that it “undermined and brought the IEC into disrepute.” However, he remains confident in the IEC’s processes and is satisfied with the commission’s explanation. While ten prominent ANC leaders facing criminal charges have been blocked from the ANC’s candidate list, it still contains dozens of leaders implicated in state capture who could potentially return to Parliament. Despite the ANC’s assertion that it has “the best candidates” on the list, political analyst Dr. Piet Croukamp from North West University believes that it’s “business as usual” for the ANC. Voters in the national election on May 29 are fueled by their anger at the ANC, according to Croukamp. However, they may not yet view any of the opposition parties as a viable alternative. Croukamp emphasises that opinion polls, some of which predict that the ANC could fall below 39% of the national vote, should not be taken as raw data that definitively explains or predicts outcomes. “An opinion poll is a snapshot of a moment in time,” he asserts. Dr. Croukamp dismisses the likelihood of the ANC achieving only 39%. To fall to 50% of the votes, he said, approximately 1.5 million people would need to stop voting for the ANC. Regarding the possibility of Julius Malema becoming the kingmaker in South Africa, Dr. Croukamp warns against underestimating Malema’s intention to unseat the ANC from power. If opposition parties manage to attract a substantial share of the votes in the national elections, they should carefully consider their choice for president, avoiding the nomination of John Steenhuisen, he said.

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  •  00:43 – Reliability of polls
  • 02:26 – What vote percentage the ANC will get
  • 05:03 – Julius Malema as Kingmaker
  • 09:08 – MK Party predictions
  • 12:32 – ‘Compromised’ members of the ANC?
  • 14:30- Vote-buying tactics
  • 17:33 – Possible increase in violence in KZN?
  • 21:43 – Conclusion

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Highlights from the interview ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

ANC members tainted by corruption not excluded for candidate list 

The integrity committee has already stated that they found no significant substantive evidence against someone like Gwede Mantashe, for instance. But how could they not have found something? Rumours that I have heard is that around four dominant or previously dominant members of the ANC will not be on the list, but it is only those that have been identified by the Integrity Commision. More than 90 ANC members flagged by the Zondo Commission will still be on the list, including Gwede Mantashe. There’s a dispute between the NEC and the officials—the top seven in the ANC. The top seven insists that none of these people should be on the list, but the NEC disagrees due to concerns about fragmentation and centrifugal forces within the party. Opportunistic and tainted individuals may clutter the list. Those that have been identified by the Zondo Commission as opportunistic and shouldn’t have been on the candidate list. Ultimately, it depends on what the integrity committee decides. We’ll have to wait for more court cases. The National Prosecuting Authority makes promises, but very few people are actually prosecuted. I don’t see significant progress based on the list provided by the Zondo Commission. It is business as usual, except for a few ANC members flagged by the Integrity Commission.

Opinion polls are a snapshot, they are not predictions 

You must be very careful if you look at the opinion polls as raw data, which explains or predicts anything. Normally, an opinion poll is a snapshot of a moment in time. In other words, if we do the opinion poll today, if people have gone to the election today and voted, that might have been close to the outcome. But we are 3 to 4 months away and one must be careful to use it as a prediction. On whether the ANC support could drop to 39%: One of the things that you have to look at first of all, in KwaZulu-Natal, for instance, the poll has shown that about 30% of the responders—the people they asked—either didn’t want to say who they will vote for or didn’t know. Well, statistically, you have to in some other way manage that 30% because we know that a significant percentage of those people will eventually go out and vote. So you cannot just leave it outside. If you do, you will get a distorted result. So I think there are a few things you have to take into consideration. The people who said that they wouldn’t tell because they don’t know. The other thing is, you must make very sure that the pollsters have actually only used the people who are registered and who have indicated that they will go and vote. If they’re not registered, it’s meaningless to ask them. Let me give you an example:  Between the ages from 18 to 19, only 27% of South Africans are registered. But if you go to young people and ask, who will you vote for? They will say EFF or ANC, but are they registered? So I think you must look at opinion polls in an intelligent way and you must understand statistics a little bit. So there is no opinion poll that can predict the ANC will get 39%. It’s not going to happen. No.

To dip to 50% ANC support, 1.5 million must stop voting for the ANC

Approximately 1.5 million people who voted for the ANC in the last election would need to either vote for another party or abstain this time. I find it hard to imagine that scenario. The reason is simple: If you’re a typical ANC voter and you wake up on Election Day feeling alienated, neglected, abused, or uncared for, you’ll ask yourself, ‘What’s my alternative?’ That’s where South Africa faces a dire situation.

In the 2021 local government election, only 46% of registered voters turned out. If you think South Africans who don’t turn up to vote have nothing to say, you make a big mistake. They have something to say. Many believe there’s no viable alternative. Identity politics play a role: The DA caters to coloured and white voters, they have lost most of their black voters. They have even lost some of the Afrikaner voters to the Freedom Front Plus, which traditionally appeals to Afrikaner voters. All the other parties with the exception of the really small ones have specific racial, ethnic, or historical identities, making them unattractive alternatives for those who must overcome obstacles to vote.

Voting in South Africa can be costly—not just financially, but in terms of the risks faced, such as navigating dangerous areas or leaving children with someone else. So, while someone may want to vote differently, viable alternatives remain scarce, especially for people who have traditionally voted for the ANC. 

To avoid Malema the destructive kingmaker: Steer clear of Steenhuisen

The EFF could decide who becomes the president of South Africa without joining any coalition or aligning with other parties. For instance, if the DA and the Multi-Party Charter manage to assemble a coalition of smaller parties that collectively surpasses the ANC, the EFF could abstain from voting. By doing so, they allow the DA coalition to elect the president. However, if that multi-party charter wants to keep Malema out of the equation, they must not nominate John Steenhuisen as President. Instead, consider alternatives like Thlabisa from the IFP or Songezo Zibi from Rise Mzansi. This way, the EFF has a viable choice. 

But then you have a very, very difficult situation. If this coalition of parties, this multiparty charter, fails to satisfy the EFF, they can initiate a motion of no confidence in parliament. Consequently, the ANC could regain the presidency. However, if they remain dissatisfied with the ANC, they can swing back to the multiparty coalition. This puts them in a powerful position. We’ve seen a similar scenario in Johannesburg, where by abstaining, they wielded significant influence. The Patriotic Alliance, led by Gauteng McKenzie, found themselves in precisely the same position. They become kingmakers, but this situation becomes incredibly unstable.

Read more: ANC’s betrayal: From liberation to inequality – the soaring wealth gap in South Africa: Andrew Kenny

Malema driven by urge to remove the ANC from power

This one thing that I think people forget is that there is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing that will give Julius Malema greater satisfaction. There’s nothing he wants to do more than to pull the pillars from underneath the ANC. On that day, there is no guarantee that he will necessarily go into a coalition with the ANC. In fact, a deputy presidency won’t please him as much as being able to say, ‘I have removed the ANC from power in South Africa.’ Sso, I believe that urge, that destructive urge, is much stronger than many people recognise. Additionally, there’s a second option: Ending up as a kingmaker in this situation without necessarily having to join any of the coalitions. Just playing them off against each other creates a type of instability we might just get.

Russian money to MK went missing

I’ve heard that there’s hearsay about them receiving a small amount of money from Russia. Initially, they spent it, but not necessarily wisely. They held one or two well-attended meetings. However, due to their lack of organisational structure or financial system, someone had to take the money to organise another rally elsewhere, and unfortunately, it was stolen. So, whatever they received from the Russians, they used a portion of it before it got stolen. That’s the story I’ve heard. Now, here’s my point: If they receive any support, it won’t be because of their ability to establish branches, hold meetings, or create a strong party structure. Instead, it’ll be because many people are very, very angry with the ANC. Remember, they don’t have a viable alternative, but the MK Party serves as an option to punish the ANC, just as many EFF supporters seek to do. While they might perform reasonably well, I doubt they’ll reach the 9% predicted by one poll. Getting 5% will be incredibly challenging. If I had to estimate, perhaps 1% or 2% nationally. But it’ll be driven by people’s intense anger toward the ANC, presenting them with an alternative. Keep in mind that this party is primarily based in KwaZulu-Natal, with some support in Gauteng. However, KwaZulu-Natal itself is deeply divided. The ANC there has two prominent factions: those pro-Ramaphosa and those anti-Ramaphosa. These factions control the provincial executive committee and have some influence in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature. So, the existing divisions within the party might actually benefit a party like MK.  

Voters will use second vote to punish the ANC

Some people may vote for the purpose of punishing the ANC due to their anger with the party. In this election, there are three ballots to consider. On one of these ballots, they may vote for the MK party, while on the national ballot, they might choose the ANC. In the previous election, 645,000 people voted for the ANC on the national ballot but did not vote for the ANC on the provincial ballot. It’s possible that this trend will continue, perhaps even more so this time. While the MK party may perform well in KwaZulu-Natal, it might not fare as well on the national ballot for the 200 members who go to the National Assembly. The motivation for voting for MK seems to be a desire to punish the ANC, specifically targeting the Ramaphosa faction within the party.

Tax payers money is used to campaign for the ANC

It has the facade of being innocent. All the cabinet ministers drive these black BMWs to party events. You and I pay for the petrol, security, and everything else. So they arrive with the weight and official presence of ministers doing party work. We’re already paying for the ANC in that respect. The Minister of Finance is one of the most credible ministers we have. He has already made R200 million available to political parties, taking away about R46 million from the Independent Electoral Commission. This money is distributed according to a different formula and will benefit the ANC. There’s no doubt that the Treasury is being used to the advantage of the ANC.

The Minister of Police, for instance, arrives in a police helicopter at ANC official meetings, including manifesto launches. This creates a larger-than-life image. It’s an abuse of taxpayer’s money, using state logistics and infrastructure. In Gauteng, transformers that distribute electricity in townships and informal settlements are being stolen. The premier, Panyaza Lesufi, drives around and instals stolen transformers, bringing the lights back on. This is an abuse of state resources, and he doesn’t even have the budget for it. Government money is being used to install transformers in townships for political purposes. There are likely thousands of similar events that appear as government programs but are actually ANC initiatives.

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