The facts about the ‘bribe’

Mail & Guardian - - Comment & Analysis -

I took this ex­tra­or­di­nary de­ci­sion to cor­rect the in­ac­cu­ra­cies in the ar­ti­cle “Cyril ac­cused of dou­ble stan­dards” (Septem­ber 21) be­cause I be­lieve the con­cocted na­ture of its nar­ra­tive was not done out of mal­ice or as a de­lib­er­ate ploy but was a re­sult of the only in­for­ma­tion at the re­porter’s dis­posal when the ar­ti­cle was writ­ten.

I ex­pected the of­fice of the ANC sec­re­tary gen­eral would set the record straight re­gard­ing this un­prece­dented leak of con­fi­den­tial na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee de­lib­er­a­tions, and to cor­rect the dis­tor­tions and in­sin­u­a­tions cre­ated by them.

I wish to place the fol­low­ing facts on record:

First, the al­le­ga­tion that I have re­ceived a bribe and that I made a con­fes­sion at a meet­ing of the NEC to that ef­fect is ab­surd. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. I have never re­ceived a bribe and I will never ac­cept a bribe in my ex­e­cu­tion of du­ties as a pub­lic of­fice bearer.

The anec­dote I re­lated to the NEC was my in­put in a po­lit­i­cal over­view the NEC was con­duct­ing in March this year at its first or­di­nary meet­ing af­ter the ANC’s De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence at Nas­rec. It had noth­ing to do with the re­cent al­le­ga­tions against Bosasa and some ANC func­tionar­ies.

Se­cond, it was a dis­cus­sion of the cur­rent con­junc­ture in and out­side the ANC that is af­fect­ing our on­go­ing strug­gle. In my sub­mis­sion, I prof­fered the view that per­haps the ANC needs to ap­proach the prob­lem of cor­rup­tion in a more proac­tive, sci­en­tific and con­struc­tive way. I de­cried the prac­tice where we con­tinue to be timid to dis­cuss cor­rup­tion in the party in ab­stract terms.

To am­plify my point, I re­lated how, af­ter I was ap­pointed to the premier’s of­fice in 2004 in Mpumalanga, I was ap­proached by per­sons in busi­ness through a third per­son of­fer­ing me an ex­ec­u­tive case full of money.

When I re­fused to ac­cept it, this mes­sen­ger re­fused to take it back but stood up and left in the still of the night. I pan­icked and drove for three hours to Gaut­eng the fol­low­ing morn­ing, anx­ious to seek pro­tec­tion and ad­vice at ANC head­quar­ters over what had oc­curred. I was sent back to con­vince the mes­sen­ger to take that money back. For­tu­nately he re­lented [and] took it back.

I ar­gued that the party needs to con­sider de­vis­ing strate­gies and con­ven­tions to deal with cor­rup­tion by in­su­lat­ing and pro­tect­ing its cadres who are de­ployed in po­si­tions of in­flu­ence from pres­sures and temp­ta­tions. I used this en­counter as an ex­am­ple of how real the chal­lenge is.

Re­gard­ing Bosasa, I have is­sued a de­tailed me­dia state­ment about the cir­cum­stances un­der which I pro­cured ser­vices from it and why pay­ment is still out­stand­ing for this ser­vice. This mat­ter is now be­fore Par­lia­ment’s ethics com­mit­tee and I sub­mit that it is the ap­pro­pri­ate place where it should be ven­ti­lated.

I trust that this fac­tual ac­count will con­tribute to­wards elim­i­nat­ing smoke and mir­rors around the for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge we must con­front, of rid­ding the premier ve­hi­cle for the trans­for­ma­tion of our coun­try, the ANC, of cor­rup­tion.

It re­mains our hope that in that fight South Africa’s me­dia work­ers will bat on the side of the pop­u­lar masses, re­gard­less of how lu­cra­tive it may be to act con­trary to this ex­pec­ta­tion.

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