JOHANNESBURG, March 12 – South Africa’s ruling African National Congress on Tuesday unveiled its list of candidates for upcoming elections, with President Jacob Zuma loyalists dominating and some prominent critics taking a bow.
The list of 200 parliamentary hopefuls — which doubles as a tip sheet for who will feature in the next government — was released ahead of the May 7 general election.
The vote promises to be the toughest electoral challenge yet for a party that has won each election since the end of Apartheid in 1994 by a landslide.
Despite deep voter anger with persistent corruption and inequality, supporters of the embattled president won out.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who challenged Zuma at a recent party conference, is not on the list and has announced his retirement from front line politics.
Neither is Trevor Manuel, a one-time finance minister liked by foreign investors, who has been critical of the government’s failure to implement economic reforms in the face of rampant unemployment.
The top of the list is instead dominated by Zuma’s allies from his native KwaZulu-Natal province, and those who occupy key positions in the security sector.
– Big Macs and drug running –
The document will offer succour to the ANC’s critics who claim the party is not doing enough to tackle corruption or rooting out poorly performing ministers.
The list includes former communications minister Dina Pule, who was dropped from the cabinet after being found guilty of lying to parliament about her boyfriend’s state tenders.
State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Zuma’s close confidant whose wife was convicted of drug running, is also included.
So too is former provincial minister Humphrey Mmemezi who resigned in 2012 after he bought a painting using a government credit card by masking it as a McDonald’s restaurant purchase, the equivalent of around 425 Big Macs.