Former ANC cadre recounts history of list manipulation going back to the 80s

The African National Congress (ANC) Integrity Committee (IC) on Monday recommended that the party's deputy president David Mabuza and national chairperson Gwede Mantashe be removed from the party's national list.

Read: ANC candidate list referred to integrity commission for review

The recommendations follow public criticism of the list and the inclusion of some individuals facing allegations of wrongdoing as well as the possibility of list manipulation.

Bongani Bingwa speaks to labour analyst and columnist Terry Bell about the committee's recommendations.

The fact that Ace Magashule's name has not been raised by the integrity committee, is in itself an interesting factor.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

There have been a lot of questions around the list, and the point is there is nothing new about manipulating lists.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

This is what happens when you have, particularly in this instance, a number of factions within the party. One cannot talk any more of the ANC as a single entity; we now have many factions.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

Bell was an ANC member in exile during the liberation struggle and speaks about the history of manipulative behaviour within the movement at the time.

He recalls being exposed to such manipulation back in 1981 when he was a member of the party and writes about this in a recent blog post.

He describes what happened to Bingwa.

Back in 1981, things were getting pretty rough; we had a lot of corruption and a lot of nepotism. What happened was it was decided that we should have some sort of control locally in the East African region of Tanzania.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

We decided that we should have a ten-member revolution political committee for the area and the list was duly drawn up by the overwhelming majority.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

The list duly went down to be checked by the leadership, but when it came back, none of the names on that list were the names the people chose.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

He says he was later sent to go query this with Mendi Msimang who was representing the leadership.

When I went there, he was very apologetic and said look I am terribly sorry and we didn't mean to leave your name off the list.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

I will never forget the words that he said to me, we cannot have comrades voting for who they please because they will vote anarchist and all that rubbish.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

He adds that this was a form of patronage and top-down leadership that suggests leaders know what is best for the masses.

He says list manipulation happened back in the day and it is happening now.

Bell believes the ANC needs to forget about making unity a priority as that is the underlying fault line.

Because if you put forward unity above all else, you forget about your policies, principles and everything else. You become very much like a religious cult which says the organisation above all else.

Terry Bell, Labour analyst and columnist

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