ANC snubs its in­tegrity body

CityPress - - News - CARIEN DU PLESSIS and LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA carien.du­p­lessis@city­press.co.za and luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

The ANC’s ef­forts to fight cor­rup­tion in its own ranks are back­fir­ing as its lead­ers ques­tion the mo­tives of its own in­tegrity com­mis­sion.

Some have openly crit­i­cised the Na­tional In­tegrity Com­mis­sion after it rec­om­mended that lead­ers with pend­ing crim­i­nal cases be fired or step down from their po­si­tions be­fore their court cases are con­cluded.

City Press has learnt the in­tegrity com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended that five se­nior lead­ers in East London’s Buf­falo City Metro Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, in­clud­ing Mayor Zuk­iswa Ncitha, should be axed.

The lead­ers were im­pli­cated in de­fraud­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of R5.9 mil­lion that had been meant for memo­rial ser­vices for Nel­son Man­dela last De­cem­ber.

Three se­nior ANC sources told City Press the Man­dela scan­dal had caused the party “ir­re­versible dam­age”.

The Buf­falo City lead­ers have been charged with fraud and money laun­der­ing, along with sev­eral busi­ness­peo­ple, and are cur­rently out on bail.

Their trial is due to start early next year.

They were hauled be­fore the in­tegrity com­mis­sion after they failed to heed the party’s calls to step down.

The­mu­nic­i­pal­i­ty­didn’tre­spond­tore­quests for com­ment, but if the five cock a snook at the in­tegrity com­mis­sion they’ll be the lat­est in a se­ries.

The party’s North­ern Cape sec­re­tary, Za­mani Saul, said this week the rec­om­men­da­tion by the com­mis­sion that Provin­cial Chair­man and Fi­nance MEC John Block step aside from both his roles “is a bit misplaced and is also sus­cep­ti­ble to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion in that it seeks to pre-empt the out­come of the crim­i­nal trial”.

Saul said the com­mis­sion should have de­ferred its re­port, pend­ing the out­come of Block’s trial.

Block has been charged with fraud along­side two other North­ern Cape ANC lead­ers, Yolanda Botha and Alvin Botes, who also ap­peared be­fore the com­mis­sion.

ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa this week told jour­nal­ists that the in­tegrity com­mis­sion, es­tab­lished at its 2012 Man­gaung con­fer­ence, her­alded a new ap­proach to cor­rup­tion-fighti ng within the party.

Kodwa said: “It is an im­por­tant de­par­ture on how we used to deal with [cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions]. Even if they are fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect, we must en­gage with them be­cause we can­not com­pro­mise the in­tegrity of the ANC.”

He said the in­tegrity com­mis­sion was not a re­place­ment for dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees, but “it was to deal with is­sues of in­tegrity and the im­age of the ANC”.

Crit­i­cism from party mem­bers came after the com­mis­sion sub­mit­ted a re­port to the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee last month.

The NEC re­ferred the re­port back to the com­mis­sion for “more work”.

Kodwa said the re­port last month was not fi­nal. “It pre­sented a pre­lim­i­nary re­port to the last NEC meet­ing and was asked to con­tinue with its work and to present a fi­nal re­port for ac­tion to the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee.”

A source close to ANC MP and Youth League pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Pule Mabe told City Press that Mabe was not tak­ing well to ap­par­ent ef­forts to get him to step out of the youth league race.

The source, who did not want to be named, said Mabe was made an MP even though he was fac­ing charges. It was on­ly­nowhe­want­ed­torun­fory­outh­league leader that the in­tegrity com­mis­sion was in­ter­ven­ing.

Although the fight against cor­rup­tion was a good one, the in­tegrity com­mit­tee could be used in a po­lit­i­cal way, said the source.

“Mem­ber­soft­heANCarenor­mal­men and women, and not im­mune to ac­cu­sa­tions.” He said it was up to “rep­utable in­sti­tu­tions” – courts – to prove peo­ple’s in­no­cence or guilt.

He also agreed with the ANC’s rule that any­one con­victed of a crime should step down.

Even if they are fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect, we must en­gage with them be­cause we can­not com­pro­mise the in­tegrity of the ANC

ZIZI KODWA

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