IN TOUCH| Time to choose your candidate

The silly season that comes along once every five years is upon us. Judging by the heightened activity on social media it is clear that the merry-go-round, the horse trading and the jostling for positions for the upcoming local government election is in full swing.

I have seen a couple of posts by prospective candidates for the ruling party promoting their own candidature or others doing the same for their prospective candidates. I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I saw one young man whom I think has some good ideas has put his hand up. I hope he gets to inspire others of similar calibre to brave the process. For those who are not familiar with the process followed by the majority party to choose candidates for the local and district municipal councils, this is how it works – it starts with a branch general meeting (BGM) which chooses four candidates whose names are taken to a ward general meeting of all members, whether they are ANC members or not.

The candidate who gets the most votes becomes the nominated ward councillor candidate, which then goes through a vetting process by the ANC. If the candidate fails the vetting because of a criminal record or other reasons the second-placed candidate gets the nod to stand as a candidate. To make sure there is gender representativity, if the top candidate is male then the second place has to be occupied by a female and vice versa. It sounds and looks fair, very well thought out and outright logical, doesn’t it? There is always discord between what the ANC plans to do and what comes out as the result. Their plans are almost always on point, but one wonders how they manage to cock it up on so many occasions.

I guess where there are human beings, shenanigans and funny things will always happen. I am sure they would be the first to admit, if they are really truthful, that the councilors who emerged from the last round of the election processes were not the best tools from the shed. A cursory look at all the municipalities in the Chris Hani District which are under the ANC and one sees a consistent pattern of decay and under-delivery of services. If they are truthful they would admit that the quality of representatives they chose could have been so much better.

So what do we as the voting public do to make sure that the people who emerge from the process of the ANC, or any other party for that matter, are people of integrity and above all – competent? The second biggest party in the district, the DA, goes about it in a different way. They invite applications and then people submit their CVs and those shortlisted go through an interview process and the top performers are then chosen as candidates. 

I am not familiar with other small parties and how they go about choosing their candidates, but I am sure they follow something somewhere in between these two processes. Now that you know how the two main parties get to their choices – what are your thoughts? The question then remains – how do we get to where we are if these two main parties have such wonderful selection processes? Something clearly is messed up somewhere, isn’t it?

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