ANC en­dorses im­punity

CityPress - - Voices -

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.

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