New mus­cle for ANC in­tegrity com­mit­tee

Ge­orge Mashamba wants to nur­ture a cul­ture of dig­nity and re­spect in a strength­ened struc­ture

Mail & Guardian - - News - Dineo Bendile

New ANC in­tegrity com­mit­tee chair­per­son Ge­orge Mashamba be­lieves the struc­ture needs to be­come more than a tool used to tar­get way­ward party mem­bers and start ad­dress­ing the broader is­sue of the ANC’s moral stand­ing in so­ci­ety.

It was es­tab­lished in 2013 to “pro­tect the im­age of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and en­hance its stand­ing in so­ci­ety by en­sur­ing, among oth­ers, that ur­gent ac­tion is taken to deal with pub­lic of­fi­cials, lead­ers and mem­bers of the ANC who face dam­ag­ing al­le­ga­tions of im­proper con­duct”.

Since the 2012 con­fer­ence, which took the res­o­lu­tion to es­tab­lish the com­mit­tee, the struc­ture has found it­self un­pop­u­lar with some party mem­bers who have ac­cused it of be­ing fac­tional and al­low­ing it­self to be used in plots against in­di­vid­u­als.

Mashamba told the Mail & Guardian he be­lieved the com­mit­tee’s guide­lines needed to in­clude more than just prob­ing al­leged wrong­do­ers and al­low it to fo­cus on the re­cur­ring project of main­tain­ing the dig­nity of the ANC.

“There is an im­pres­sion in the pub­lic that this is a polic­ing ser­vice com­mis­sion with pow­ers of in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ar­rest. Or that it is a ju­di­cial ser­vice com­mis­sion with pow­ers of pre­sid­ing over cases,” Mashamba said.

“I think it should be more than that. We should not be a re­ac­tive com­mit­tee. It [the com­mit­tee] must nur­ture a cer­tain cul­ture that en­sures the ANC has the nec­es­sary dig­nity and re­spect.

“In my own un­der­stand­ing, if some­thing hap­pens where some­one gets out of line there should be other struc­tures [that in­ter­vene], like the disciplinary com­mit­tee,” he added.

At the party’s 54th na­tional elec­tive congress last De­cem­ber, a res­o­lu­tion was adopted to strengthen the pow­ers of the in­tegrity com­mit­tee.

The struc­ture’s lack of mus­cle be­came ap­par­ent last year when it called on former pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to step down for bring­ing the party into dis­re­pute when he re­moved former fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han on flimsy charges. It pre­sented a re­port to then ANC sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, which was never tabled be­fore the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) de­spite the wishes of ANC vet­er­ans in the com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee, which was headed by An­drew Mlan­geni, had al­ready made sim­i­lar calls for Zuma to step down in 2016 af­ter the con­sti­tu­tional court judge­ment on Nkandla, which the former pres­i­dent re­fused to heed.

In the lead-up to the Nas­rec con­fer­ence the com­mit­tee was crit­i­cised by Zuma loy­al­ists for be­ing used in fac­tional bat­tles. ANC head of elec­tions and cam­paigns Fik­ile Mbalula blasted vet­er­ans in the com­mit­tee for “com­pro­mis­ing” them­selves.

“They [the vet­er­ans] have com­pro­mised them­selves. Some of the mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion who are overzeal­ous have ba­si­cally mis­used those vet­er­ans and … un­der­mined the very essence of that in­tegrity com­mis­sion. I can tell you now, there is a big plot here and that plot is cen­tred around Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma,” Mbalula told the M&G last year.

The NEC, how­ever, has agreed on new terms of ref­er­ence af­ter it ac­knowl­edged the com­mit­tee could not ex­e­cute its man­date with­out strength­ened pow­ers.

Mashamba said the terms of ref­er­ence were only ex­pected to be made pub­lic later this month. Mashamba’s com­mit­tee is ex­pected to hold a work­shop with former mem­bers of the struc­ture to do an of­fi­cial han­dover and dis­cuss the de­tails of his vi­sion for a com­mit­tee that ig­nites a new ANC cul­ture.

He said the new com­mit­tee would de­cide af­ter the work­shop whether it would take over ex­ist­ing cases from the pre­vi­ous struc­ture and call any new mat­ters be­fore it. “We still have to have dis­cus­sions and a han­dover from the pre­vi­ous struc­ture and an­swer our own state­ments on what we think we should be do­ing. It’s only then that will de­ter­mine [if we call any new cases].”

New broom: ANC in­tegrity com­mit­tee chair­per­son Ge­orge Mashamba says it must be more than a disciplinary body. Photo: Oupa Nkosi

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