ANC endorses impunity
In recent ANC conferences, the governing party has been blunt about the challenges it is facing. It articulates them well. The solutions are also well spelt out. We have long suspected that the resolutions are not worth the paper they are written on and this week was a perfect demonstration of this.
From its past few conferences, the party has highlighted corruption as an ill that is ravaging it and society. Among its proposed solutions to deal with corruption and those who bring the ANC into disrepute was that the party would establish integrity commissions across its structures. The bodies would be empowered to take action against those accused of bringing unwarranted attention to the organisation.
It is one thing to have policies and systems in place to deal with corrupt leaders, but it is another to take meaningful action that is there for everyone to see. The party’s integrity commission was rendered toothless during the time of former president Jacob Zuma, who refused to accept its recommendation that he step down.
Life Esidimeni remains one of the worst blights of the democratic dispensation. At least 143 mentally ill patients died, mainly as a result of mismanagement of a process to relocate them. A commission of inquiry into what happened found that former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu should shoulder some responsibility for what happened.
Another former Gauteng health MEC, Brian Hlongwa, is blamed for the financial woes that the health department still faces today. He has been the subject of a corruption investigation for many years.
The integrity commission in the province recommended that both should step down from their positions in the ANC provincial executive committee, but the committee rejected this recommendation, insisting on keeping both.
There were signs that some in the party were preparing to reject the integrity commission’s decision that all those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank saga should step aside.
All of this means the party is not serious about tackling corruption and it is insensitive to the sentiments of the society it serves. When push comes to shove, the ANC will choose to protect its own. The message it is sending to others is that they can act recklessly and with impunity, and they need not fear paying the price.