Former Minister Malusi Gigaba has seemingly thrown his weight behind claims of vote buying at the African National Congress (ANC) 2017 conference held at NASREC in Johannesburg.
The conference elected Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC President, paving the way for his election as state President in February 2018 following Jacob Zuma’s resignation.
Gigaba made the allusion in an article titled Stealing victory from the jaws of defeat – a strategy of white monopoly capital to derail the national democratic revolution (NDR), which he published on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
‘Vote buying aimed at changing ANC’s character’
He wrote, “The 2017 NASREC votes-buying spree, accompanied by the call to change the ANC’s nominations and elections procedures and tradition, are aimed precisely at ensuring that the ANC’s character is turned from an anti-colonial revolutionary movement into an appendage of WMC [white monopoly capital] and enforcer of their ideas and material interests.
“It seeks to convert ours into a bourgeois-democratic state that will become an instrument of racialised class rule.”
Gigaba said the only way forward for the ANC is to “reclaim its position as a revolutionary movement as we attempted to do during the 2017 national conference, to focus the movement on the agenda of radical change.”
“The conference set the tone in terms of what needs to be done to elaborate the radical socio-economic transformation agenda. The duty of this leadership of the ANC is not to evade these questions,” he added.
Sexwale and Sisulu’s comments
Gigaba, who is also an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, is the latest among ANC leaders to allude to vote buying at the 2017 conference.
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika in February this year, ANC veteran Tokyo Sexwale 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.”
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who is also an ANC NEC member, cited Sexwale’s comments in March and called for an investigation.
“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,” she said.
Former President Jacob Zuma also waded into the debate last week in his Zooming With Zumas conversations with his son Duduzane.
He said, “The fact that the money was the biggest which was ever seen is a reality. That people were bought is no longer what people saw at the time – it’s what has come to the fore as evidence.”
In July last year, the ANC NEC took a decision to review its rules for internal campaign funding following the CR17 campaign fundraising controversy.
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.
“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,” Magashule said.
In an opinion article on News24 in August last year, ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte added that the NEC’s decision was based on Ramaphosa’s suggestion at the meeting.
“The ANC NEC accepted the President’s suggestion that the organisation have a discussion on its approach to internal leadership contests,” she wrote.
Ramaphosa and the CR17 campaign made submissions to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during her probe into the the late Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson’s donation to the campaign.
They said funds raised for the campaign were used cover costs such as public address system and venue hires, salaries for secretariat, transport, accommodation, t-shirts, and communications, among others.