THE BURDEN OF INTEGRITY
The ANC’s Integrity Commission is a crucial part of the governing party’s attempts to root out corruption and promote honesty and rectitude. It rarely, if ever, operates in the public eye. This article is an edited version of two essays that appeared in ANC Today in recent weeks, wherein the Integrity Commission, chaired by Goodwin (George) Mashamba, provides some insight into its work and its approach to the elusive concept of ‘integrity’.
The ANC constitution states that “at least 90% of delegates at its national conference shall be from branches elected at properly constituted branch general meetings”. The reason for this provision is to ensure that the branches have control in the determination of the leadership of the ANC at branch, regional, provincial and national level.
But practice states otherwise.
The biggest risk is the use of money when it is used in bribing delegates who attend ANC conferences.
Over the past years it has become evident that leadership campaigns in the ANC, which are not regulated in the ANC constitution, now involve increasing amounts of monies and considerable expenditure. The principle is that branch members must determine their leadership, but in practice money determines leadership.
When money is used to position an individual and/or a faction to win an election at an ANC conference, these factions are not based on ideology or political position. They are not about the interest of the downtrodden and oppressed. Their aim is to secure access to the levers of power.
This appears to be taking place at every level of the organisation.
The use of money to maintain individual leadership campaigns diminishes the crucial focus on qualitative cadre-ship to rise to leadership positions. The ultimate outcome is a weakened leadership and, as a result, a weakened ANC.
Over time, money is diluting the character of the ANC.
In addition, the use of money for individual leadership campaigns corrupts our internal electoral processes and subsequent outcomes.
It is not far-fetched to now say that the ANC is there for the highest bidder. Our organisation can be taken.
Money corrupts leadership outcomes and diminishes the status and capacity of the leadership to achieve the objectives of the organisation to meet the basic needs of the people. Leadership positions are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
This not only applies to the leadership echelons of the party, but has infected the processes and subsequent outcome of electing members of parliament, members of provincial legislatures and councillors. Participation in campaigning for leadership positions is limited to those who can afford it.
We now know that this question of money is not just sourced from private donors but from long fingers reaching into the public purse and stateowned entities. This is the root cause of the perception of what today defines the ANC as corrupt.
It must be firmly and clearly stated that the use of money for individual leadership campaigns is the main source of the factions ripping apart the organisation today.
We need an open and verifiable process — one that we can monitor — to elect people who have earned and are worthy of a leadership position and who are aligned to the politics, ethics and goals of the ANC.
Correcting this matter at all levels, especially the highest levels, will negate the destructive impact it has had on lower structures and must be a crucial component of organisational renewal.
The process of correction of this problem will enable us to propel to parliament, to the legislatures and to councils, people of political integrity and quality who truly shall be representative of the people.
The ANC must develop strict rules, to be incorporated into the ANC constitution, prohibiting the use of money for individual leadership positions as anathema to everything the ANC stands for.
Money for the logistical needs of campaigning must come directly from the organisation and must be transparent and publicly declared.
Individuals, corporations, businesses or any other entities that want to donate money to the ANC must do so officially through the structures of the organisation responsible for the management of finances, and not directly to the individual campaigner. These donations must be declared and accounted for.
Money must not be given to individuals for their own political campaigning. This practice must be prohibited. Arguments put forward that it is not possible to do this because the practice of funding individuals will just go underground, are illinformed.
Rules and regulations outlining these principles must now be incorporated into the constitution. The ANC is governed by its constitution to ensure that the organisation is protected and its integrity guaranteed.
The use of money for individual leadership campaigns must be prohibited, and when this is breached, disciplinary processes must kick in with a view to expulsion from the organisation.
The Integrity Commission recommends that every leader of the ANC, throughout the organisation, must be evaluated, including via their regular submission to lifestyle audits.
This ethical and upright leadership must be defined by its commitment to changes in the quality of life of the people, and not be centred on self-enrichment.
The Integrity Commission champions an ANC that subscribes to maintaining the moral high ground over all opposing forces.
The Integrity Commission promotes the idea of developing political consciousness in guiding our members to enhance ethical conduct.
It is not enough for members of the ANC to declare that they want a better life for all. This must be demonstrated in practice.
The key and fundamental agenda of the ANC and all its members is that the party must lead SA to become a society in which ultimately all will be free of want.
This is the historic mission of the ANC.