All candidates lists drawn up with care: The Herald

Strict processes, a bit of intense lobbying, ensure best people chosen

CAREFULLY selected, vetted and tested to ensure they are equal to the task. This is how political parties in the Eastern Cape said they chose the men and women who made up candidates lists to go to parliament or the legislature after the May elections.

The last few months have also seen intense behind-the-scenes lobbying by leaders eyeing lucrative positions in the National Assembly and the legislature.

While some parties said they used “rigorous scientific processes” to find the best leaders in their ranks, others opted for a 50:50 ratio to ensure equal gender representation and qualifications for those heading to the National Assembly or Bhisho.

Yesterday was the deadline for political parties to submit their candidates lists for the election to the Electoral Commission.

ANC and UDM members nominate candidates who make up an initial list before it is reorganised by their leadership to ensure a proper representation of women and youth.

COPE opens up the floor to all members who feel they want to serve at national or provincial level to submit their CVs for consideration.

The DA, on the other hand, puts its applicants through a two-stage process, where people who want to stand for the legislature or parliament appear before the electoral college, a panel representative of the structures of the party.

The panel then creates a shortlist of candidates who are tested and scored on their knowledge of politics, understanding of policies and their work for the community.

The prospective DA candidates have to make an impromptu speech on a randomly selected topic and write an online test as part of the process.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said their selection process was transparent, democratic and designed to make sure the list reflected transformation.

“After the branch meetings, the list goes up to the provincial list conference, where all the branches that have passed the audits and verifications participate.”

He said the list would be streamlined, added to, and they would select 50% more candidates than needed. “There has to be a reserve list.” The national and provincial list committees had to make sure the selections were within ANC guidelines, including the constitutional requirement of 50:50 gender representation.

“In transforming the country, the ANC makes sure that women are given a proper platform, so we do the 50:50 reordering of the list to make sure that there is an equal number of men and women on the lists, and prioritise minority groups within the party.” He said the lists, which had to be representative of all regions, were then taken to the national list committee to make sure they complied with guidelines before they were signed off.

While the UDM also uses the nomination process, provincial leader Mongameli Bobani said their lists were mostly based on votes.

“The candidates are elected from branch nominations to serve in parliament or the provincial legislature. Then from there, there is a regional council that looks at lists with regard to how many votes they have, or how many branches support a certain candidate.” Bobani said the lists were then discussed at a provincial list conference, where branches around the province voted for their favoured candidates.

“After that, it’s the national list conference, where all provinces and branches vote and streamline the list.” People were also chosen according to what they specialised in and their qualifications, he said.

The DA’s Bobby Stevenson said their process was not a popularity contest but a scientific process to make sure they had the right candidates for the job.

“We are an opportunity party so people who have not been public representatives before are able to compete fairly on merit and ability. It is a very intensive and structured scientific process that is designed to ensure that the DA has the best candidates possible.”

Full participation was the goal behind COPE’s process, according to head of elections Bongani Bara.

“We have opened it so that a member can declare if they feel they have skills they want to share with the organisation. Then there is a form they must complete, with their CV detailing their qualifications, community involvement, previous participation in the party.

“Thereafter, the CVs are taken to the electoral college, where point scoring will be done.”

All the lists would then be taken to the decision-making body, the Congress National Committee, which then voted for the individuals, Bara said.

“Forty percent of the total score comes from the electoral college and 60% from the CNC.”

He said the list of names was then looked at to ensure there was enough representation of women, youth and the disabled before being signed off.