African National Congress National Executive Committee (ANC NEC) member Lindiwe Sisulu has waded into speculation that the party’s 54th national conference held in Nasrec, Johannesburg in 2017 was “bought.”
The conference elected Cyril Ramaphosa as President of the ANC. A Public Protector investigation last year revealed that his CR17 campaign raised hundreds of millions of rand from private donors.
Addressing ANC members in the Dullah Omar region in Khayelitsha on Sunday, Sisulu referred to recent comments by ANC veteran Tokyo Sexwale.
‘If true, we must do something’
Sexwale claimed in a recent interview with Newzroom Afrika that the Nasrec conference was “money-infested.”
He said, “Nasrec was a shocker. Money was used to buy the conference. People have a lot of money from the government, and people marshalled money from outside. You buy a conference.”
Sisulu, who is also Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister in Ramaphosa’s government, said she didn’t know if Sexwale’s claims were true or not, but he should be called upon to “expand on this.”
She added, “If indeed it is true, we must do something about it. If indeed it is true, we must change the way we elect our leaders. We cannot allow [the] power of money to determine who does what in our country.”
Review of internal campaign funding
Sisulu’s comments come months after the ANC NEC took a decision to review its rules for internal campaign funding.
Addressing the media on the outcomes of an NEC meeting in July last year, party Secretary General Ace Magashule said the decision was part of a broader review of the ANC’s electoral systems in line with a resolution taken at the Nasrec conference.
He said, “The NEC agreed to review the “Through the Eye of a Needle” document so that we improve out internal party electoral system, including internal rules and regulations for lobbying and funding of individual campaigns for leadership.”
In an opinion article on News24 in August last year, ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte also said the NEC’s decision was based on Ramaphosa’s suggestion at the meeting.
Sisulu has denied speculation that she has ambitions to challenge Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency at the party’s conference in 2022.
Speaking to Sunday Independent in February, her advisor, Mphumzi Mdekazi, said, “She didn’t join the ANC for positions. If she wanted positions, she would have accepted nominations to be in the Top Six way back in Polokwane, but she declined.
“So, where is this ambition coming from? She’s never gone out to campaign and lobby people. She doesn’t subscribe to the notion of money and buying people for a position.”