The facts about the ‘bribe’
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.