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ANC Faces Backlash Over Controversial Election Candidate List Amid Corruption Allegations

Published March 13, 2024
2 months ago

South Africa's political landscape is poised for potential upheaval as the African National Congress (ANC), the country's ruling party since the end of apartheid in 1994, faces critical challenges leading up to the national and provincial elections on May 29. The ANC has announced its list of candidates, which controversially includes several figures accused of corruption during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma.

Key figures named on the list are current Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, and Malusi Gigaba, the former finance minister. All have been implicated in a high-level judicial inquiry that delved into the pervasive graft allegedly perpetrated under Zuma's presidency, which lasted nearly nine years. Despite vociferous denials of any wrongdoing, these individuals have been recommended for further investigation and potential prosecution by the authorities.

As the ANC persists in publicly upholding its anti-corruption stance, the inclusion of such controversial names carries significant weight, potentially eroding the trust of the electorate. As remarked upon by analysts, and evidenced by recent opinion polls, there is a palpable risk that the party could see its national majority significantly reduced or even lost—a monumental shift that could redefine South African politics.

One such poll by the Brenthurst Foundation alarmingly indicates ANC voter support may dwindle to a mere 39%, a stark contrast to the sweeping victories to which the party has grown accustomed. Additionally, the ANC has had to navigate the complexities within its ranks by disqualifying members from candidacy due to criminal records or ongoing disciplinary actions, noted ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbulula in a press briefing in Johannesburg.

Should such projections materialize, the ANC would face either a coalition government or the stark reality of opposition rule. The looming elections represent a critical moment for South Africa as citizens weigh governance, accountability, and the fight against corruption against a backdrop of a ruling party's struggle to redeem its standing and authority.

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