Election of ANC premiers is flawed

Despite leading the ANC's provincial election campaign, Premier David Makhura may not retain the position.
Despite leading the ANC's provincial election campaign, Premier David Makhura may not retain the position.
Image: FREDDY MAVUNDA

By late last night, the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) was still locked in a meeting to decide on who would be its candidates when the provincial legislatures convene to elect premiers later this month.

Given the fact that the party enjoys absolute majorities in eight of the nine provincial legislatures, it is almost certain that those selected by the NEC meeting would be voted in as the new premiers.

Unlike the DA, which believes in naming its premier candidates before an election is held, the ANC prefers to select its candidate after the results have been announced.

From a party perspective, this may make sense as it avoids the possibility of jostling for the position among its leaders, resulting in divisions and the weakening of the party's election campaign.

However, it is grossly unfair to the voters and goes against the practice in almost all other tiers of government.

If we go into a general election knowing very well who is the party's presidential candidate, and to a local government poll knowing who the councillors are, why not premier candidates?

A premier plays a pivotal role in a provincial government and therefore voters need to know the personalities the parties are putting forward before they vote.

Denying them this opportunity means robbing voters of an opportunity to make well-informed decisions.

It also robs the would-be premier an opportunity to engage with voters before they take over government.

Once the ANC selection process is concluded, it is very possible that voters in a province or two would find themselves with a premier they have hardly heard of.

A province like Gauteng, depending on internal dynamics within the ANC, may end up with a completely different premier despite the fact that the party's campaign here has been led by its provincial chairperson, David Makhura.

No wonder about 600,000 people who voted for the ANC nationally opted for other parties at provincial levels.

It is high time the ANC reviewed its current approach and allowed the electorate to vote, or not vote, for the party fully aware of who they are choosing to lead their provincial government.

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