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  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa.

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 March 2019

Ramaphosa also says the party's leadership was not responsible for the questionable nominees, and that they could not intervene on the nominations bade by lower structures.

A partial list of 107 African National Congress (ANC) parliamentary candidates has garnered criticism for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his promises to eliminate corruption within the party and government. 

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Several of the nominees are alleged to have been involved in several acts of corruption or incompetence. Nomvula Mokonyane, who served as Environmental Affairs Minister, has been accused of being responsible for dismantling the country's water infrastructure, as well as accepting bribes.

Bathabile Dlamini was overseeing the country's US$10-billion annual welfare system when the Constitutional Court had to intervene on the failed distribution of monthly payments to pensioners and disabled recipients, and found Dlamini to have committed perjury. The case was brought to the Court's attention by human rights activists.

Former South African Home Affairs and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has been linked to the Gupta family, who are accused of collaborating with government officials in a currency looting scheme, and was also found to have committed perjury by the courts.

All aforementioned officials made the ANC's parliamentary nominee list, despite troubled pasts. According to the ANC's Secretary General Ace Magashule, the allegations have not been proven in court, and therefore, cannot push the party to exclude the accused members from the list. 

Ramaphosa claims that anyone on the list who partook in criminal activity should still be held accountable for their actions, if proven. The South African leader said, “the membership chose them knowingly, saying we will allow all the processes to unfold and if people are found guilty of criminal conduct or of misbehavior, they will be dealt with through the criminal justice system.” 

Ramaphosa also says the party's leadership was not responsible for the questionable nominees, and that they could not intervene on the nominations bade by lower structures. While some of the nominees have been involved in legal troubles, their popularity and rank within the party remain. 

“We are a broad movement. We are a party that does not impose representatives from the top. They were chosen from the bottom by the membership of the organization, and we must respect the democratic process,” Ramaphosa stated during a campaign visit in Orlando East.

The opposition has used the tainted nominees as a way to discredit the ANC and President Ramaphosa, as May elections are approaching. South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has referred to the individuals as people "who belong in prison, not parliament. They orchestrated the capture of our state, killed our economy and subjected our people to even further despair.”

Ramaphosa's campaign promise for a new dawn free of corruption as "nothing more than a farce."

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