Corruption claims are badly affecting ANC’s campaign, says Fikile Mbalula
The ANC has faced criticism for the inclusion of leaders implicated in corruption on its candidate lists for parliament and provincial legislatures
Corruption allegations against some of its leaders have hit the ANC's election campaign ahead of the upcoming polls, the governing party's head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, said Monday.
"It came amid a drop in numbers … Ours has been a task to win the trust of our people," he said .
Support for the ANC has dropped in each election since 2009. It fell below 50% nationally in the 2016 municipal elections.
Monday marks exactly a month before the May polls. This is a crucial election for the party, which is hoping to increase its national support, with President Cyril Ramaphosa at the helm. It is also fighting to hold onto Gauteng, the country's economic hub, after losing key metros such as Johannesburg and Tshwane to a coalition of opposition parties.
Mbalula said the ANC had conducted a survey that showed that there was a perception that the party did not act on the issues of corruption. People said they trusted the ANC but called on the party not to be "wishy washy" about corruption, he said.
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"We ourselves know there is still a lot to do. There are many things which could have been avoided, but we are keen to change things," Mbalula said.
The ANC has faced heavy criticism for the inclusion of leaders implicated in corruption on its candidate lists for parliament and provincial legislatures. Last week, the national executive committee decided to refer the lists to the integrity commission.
Despite political parties being unable to change the lists submitted to the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), Mbalula again reiterated on Monday that the list was not cast in stone. He said if the ANC's integrity commission decided that a candidate should step aside, they would have to do so.
The party did have other candidates who could fill those places.
"What we will not do is shy away from issues that have implications on the integrity of the ANC, but we will not victimise people," Mbalula said.
He said the integrity commission would look at the entire list and call people to account. If their explanation to the commission is not sufficient, they will have to step aside.
"We are not here to argue with people; there are processes."
ANC national spokesperson Dakota Legoete said any decision taken by the integrity commission had to be respected as it was a binding decision.
The integrity commission will not just be looking at those implicated at the state capture commission but also those implicated in findings by Chapter nine institutions and parliamentary committees, he said.