IN­TEGRITY COM­MIS­SION ANC AT WAR

Some mem­bers have ar­gued that the struc­ture is used to set­tle fac­tional scores

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE and NGWAKO MODJADJI news@city­press.co.za

The ANC is at odds about the sta­tus of its in­tegrity com­mis­sion rul­ings, with some mem­bers ar­gu­ing that the struc­ture is used to set­tle fac­tional scores. City Press un­der­stands that the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee yes­ter­day re­ferred the com­mis­sion’s re­port on the VBS Mu­tual Bank heist back for proper pro­cess­ing.

The body had ear­lier rec­om­mended that ANC lead­ers im­pli­cated in the loot­ing of al­most R2 bil­lion of poor peo­ple’s money should step aside from party lead­er­ship po­si­tions. The re­port, amongst oth­ers, im­pli­cated Lim­popo ANC deputy chair­per­son Florence Radzi­lani and trea­surer Danny Msiza.

Those who are pro and anti-Msiza in the prov­ince but were aware of the dis­cus­sions at the NEC claimed that in­tegrity com­mis­sion re­port was sent back to al­low for the im­pli­cated of­fi­cials to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions. Once that was done, the re­port will be handed to the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee (NWC) for fi­nal­i­sa­tion.

“They [NEC] kicked that thing out,” said a ju­bi­lant Msiza ally. An anti-Msiza lob­by­ist put the blame squarely in the door of ANC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule of cre­at­ing “a loop­hole” that en­abled the com­mis­sion re­port to col­lapse.

City Press was in­formed that Ma­gashule ad­mit­ted in the meet­ing that he had not in­formed Msiza and Radzi­lani about the op­por­tu­nity to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion.

Ahead of the NEC meet­ing, Ma­gashule lashed out at mem­bers for crit­i­cis­ing the in­tegrity com­mis­sion. “We are the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. I don’t have a [per­sonal] view. My view will be the view of the col­lec­tive.”

There were also fears – par­tic­u­larly among those aligned to for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma – that the com­mis­sion could be used as a purg­ing in­stru­ment by those who won last year’s Nas­rec elec­tive con­fer­ence. But even some al­lies of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa are un­com­fort­able about the com­mis­sion be­ing given too much power.

The in­tegrity com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished af­ter the 2012 Man­gaung con­fer­ence to pro­tect the ANC’s image “by en­sur­ing ... that ur­gent ac­tion is taken to deal with pub­lic of­fi­cials, lead­ers and mem­bers of the ANC who face dam­ag­ing al­le­ga­tions of im­proper con­duct”.

But it has been ham­strung by the fact that its de­ci­sions must be rat­i­fied by the NEC.

THE VBS CO­NUN­DRUM

The ANC is un­der pres­sure to show Lim­popo vot­ers that it takes the loot­ing at VBS se­ri­ously and there is ex­pec­ta­tion that it takes ac­tion against Radzi­lani and Msiza who are im­pli­cated in ad­vo­cate Terry Mo­tau’s Great Bank Heist re­port.

While Msiza al­legedly pres­surised mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to place de­posits in VBS il­le­gally, Radzi­lani re­ceived cash from the bank.

This week, Cosatu in Lim­popo staged protests at some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that lost mil­lions of rands in VBS. A provin­cial shut­down is planned for Wednes­day to try to force the ANC to take ac­tion.

The ANC’s prob­lems are ex­ac­er­bated by the fact that Luthuli House also re­ceived mil­lions in do­na­tions from VBS. Party lead­ers this week de­nied this, but later ad­mit­ted it and pledged to pay back some of the money.

MA­GASHULE LOB­BIED

Crit­ics of the in­tegrity com­mis­sion, which is led by for­mer Robben Is­lan­der Ge­orge Mashamba, ac­cuse it of en­croach­ing on the turf of for­mal dis­ci­plinary struc­tures by rec­om­mend­ing that lead­ers step aside.

Msiza wrote to Ma­gashule and the ANC top six this week, ask­ing that the com­mis­sion’s re­port not be dis­cussed at this week­end’s NEC meet­ing be­cause he had yet to tell his side of the story.

“I am baf­fled and deeply hurt by the sub­ver­sion of due process by the in­tegrity com­mis­sion. The net ef­fect of this gross in­jus­tice is that I have been per­se­cuted and found guilty in the court of pub­lic opin­ion ... I have been judged in ab­sence and pre­sumed guilty and now the onus is on me to prove my

in­no­cence,” Msiza wrote.

ANC in­sid­ers say the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee should have dis­cussed the mat­ter on Mon­day, but Ma­gashule left it off the agenda.

This week, Msiza’s sup­port­ers lob­bied NEC mem­bers to have the in­tegrity com­mis­sion re­port re­versed, ex­pect­ing Ma­gashule to take their side be­cause he was among those who dis­agreed that the com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sions should be bind­ing.

Msiza’s sym­pa­this­ers are say­ing the com­mis­sion should have called him, while his op­po­nents ar­gue he should have vol­un­tar­ily pre­sented him­self to it.

ANC NEC mem­ber Mathole Mot­shekga said the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions were “vague”.

“What does ‘to step aside’ mean? It is not say­ing whether they must step aside from ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions or party po­si­tions,” he said.

THE LUNGISA AND MABUYAKHULU QUES­TION

An­other com­pli­ca­tion is that the ANC has not en­forced its own res­o­lu­tion that mem­bers who face pros­e­cu­tion should va­cate their posts, and that those con­victed should au­to­mat­i­cally step down.

Nel­son Man­dela Bay re­gional chair and Zuma ally Andile Lungisa is ap­peal­ing a three-year sen­tence for as­sault, but re­mains in his job.

Ramaphosa backer and KwaZulu-Natal deputy chair­per­son Mike Mabuyakhulu still oc­cu­pies his post even though he faces charges of money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion.

THE LIM­POPO FAC­TOR

Msiza’s lob­by­ists ac­cuse Mashamba of play­ing fac­tional pol­i­tics. He is a mem­ber of the vet­er­ans’ league in Lim­popo, which had a bit­ter re­la­tion­ship with Msiza.

Lim­popo ANC branches sup­port­ing Msiza and Radzi­lani were also plot­ting to take the fight to Luthuli House, and to court if Mashamba’s re­port was not re­versed.

An NEC mem­ber and Msiza ally said they want a just and fair process.

“The in­tegrity com­mis­sion can’t be be­yond re­proach. Msiza wants the court to re­view the VBS re­port and you are say­ing he must step aside. What is go­ing to hap­pen if he wins the court case? Mashamba is play­ing fac­tional pol­i­tics be­cause of his back­ground with Msiza in Lim­popo,” the NEC mem­ber said.

Mashamba told City Press on Fri­day that the com­mis­sion was “guided by the terms of ref­er­ence that were given to us by the NEC”.

“If some­body is not happy he or she has a right to ap­peal. The NEC has a fi­nal say. The in­tegrity com­mis­sion is like a lower court in this case.”

Msiza’s provin­cial op­po­nents de­fended Mashamba, say­ing he was an im­par­tial party vet­eran.

LEAGUES WEIGH IN

The ANC Youth League is now say­ing that of­fi­cials im­pli­cated in the VBS saga must re­cuse them­selves from lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

Youth league deputy pres­i­dent Des­mond Moela said: “You can’t take some­thing from the poor. The law must take its course.”

ANC Women’s League sec­re­tary-gen­eral Meokgo Matuba said they would push for the ex­pul­sion of guilty lead­ers and mem­bers.

“We are not go­ing to pro­tect or de­fend any­body. The ANC can’t har­bour crim­i­nals. What angers us is that peo­ple who in­vested with VBS are women and poor peo­ple from ru­ral ar­eas,” Matuba said.

ANC Vet­er­ans League pres­i­dent Snuki Zikalala said the league wanted an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into im­pli­cated ANC of­fi­cials and mem­bers.

“We are tak­ing a cue from the vet­er­ans league in Lim­popo that of­fi­cials im­pli­cated in the VBS scan­dal must step aside ... so that there can be an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion [into] them,” he said.

DE­FI­ANT GAUT­ENG

The Gaut­eng ANC lead­er­ship’s de­ci­sion to defy the provin­cial in­tegrity com­mis­sion has em­bold­ened its de­trac­tors.

This week the prov­ince de­fied a rec­om­men­da­tion that for­mer health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and leg­is­la­ture chief whip Brian Hlongwa re­sign from the provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC). Hlongwa, fac­ing cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, merely stepped down as chief whip, while Mahlangu quit when the Life Esidi­meni tragedy hit the head­lines.

Gaut­eng ANC sec­re­tary Ja­cob Khawe said the PEC be­lieved the ANC’s con­sti­tu­tion stip­u­lated that mem­ber­ship is­sues were the “purview of a con­sti­tu­tional dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee and not the in­tegrity com­mit­tee”.

Pre­vi­ously, how­ever, Gaut­eng lead­ers ar­gued that de­ci­sions of na­tional and provin­cial in­tegrity com­mis­sions should be bind­ing – no­tably when the struc­ture asked a scan­dal-tainted Zuma to re­sign.

An ANC leader aligned to Zuma said Ramaphosa’s camp was now flip-flop­ping from its ear­lier po­si­tion.

“Now they are no longer talk­ing about the com­mis­sion’s bind­ing pow­ers be­cause it has come back to bite them. That is what hap­pens when you take emo­tional de­ci­sions to deal with po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents,” the Zuma ally said.

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