It's up to voters to punish parties with dodgy candidates on lists, say analysts

09 April 2019 - 13:38
By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The electoral commission (IEC) on Tuesday upheld only one out of the 52 objections against political party candidates.
Image: RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP The electoral commission (IEC) on Tuesday upheld only one out of the 52 objections against political party candidates.

It is up to the electorate to punish the political parties whose candidate lists are questionable when they go to the polls next month, say political analysts.

On Tuesday, the electoral commission (IEC) upheld one out of the 52 objections against political party candidates standing for parliament and provincial legislatures.

The objections, according to the IEC, were against the lists of 10 political parties.

"A number of objections were also directed at more than one party: 29 objections were directed against ANC candidates, 19 against BLF candidates, 13 against the EFF, four each against candidates the DA and the Land Party, and one each against candidates representing the ACDP, AIC, ACM and ATA," the IEC said on Tuesday.

TimesLIVE previously reported that among the names objected to in the ANC were cabinet ministers Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile Dlamini, Zweli Mkhize, Angie Motshekga and Bheki Cele.

Former ministers Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, Faith Muthambi, Bongani Bongo, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and David Mahlobo were also objected to.

The IEC upheld one objection by the PAC against its own candidate, Seropane Alton Senyane Mphethi, who was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment without the option of a fine in 2016. The offence was defeating the ends of justice in a case relating to a man who died at his house.

"This disqualifies him from holding elected office to the national assembly or a provincial legislature," said the IEC.

The electoral commission said it had rejected the objections as they failed to meet the "constitutional and statutory criteria" including that a candidate was convicted of an offence and sentenced without an option of a fine, that they are insolvent and that they were declared insane.

"The majority of these objections related to unproven allegations."

According to political analysts, there is nothing with its decision to dismiss all the other objections as none of the allegations against the candidates translate into criminal records.

"The onus is on the parties to clean up their lists. If they don't, it will be for the electorate to decide on whether they believe in their parties or whether they want to punish those parties at the polls," said Wits School of Governance professor Susan Booysen.

Commenting on the ANC candidate list Prof Shadrack Gutto said that "there are a lot of people who have questionable credibility and morality … the question is why does the ANC not engage with questions of morality, credibility and serious allegations of corruption?"

Gutto said it was now in the domain of voters to punish parties for having those candidates on their lists.

"The reality is that the political parties will bear the political costs for their decisions. The fight is left to the ordinary South Africans when they vote," said political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

According to professor of political studies at the University of Johannesburg, Steven Friedman, the issue is whether the ANC feels that the names that are causing controversy will cost it votes.

"If it does, it might remove them itself. More likely is that it will contest the election with these names on the list and hope that it does not cost votes."