Sunday, 19 April 2009

The ANC and corruption - the irony

Guest Blog: The ANC and corruption - the irony.

It is almost impossible to believe ANC leaders when they claim that they are serious about fighting corruption.

They never miss the opportunity to emphasize how much the ‘ANC is committed to fighting corruption’. On the other hand, they miss every available opportunity to act against their corrupt colleagues.

The most recent and perhaps glaring example of this is the ANC’s insistence to nominate Mrs. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the Travelgate fraudsters as candidates for the National Assembly. Both Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela and the five Travelgate MPs (namely Bathabile Dlamini, Mnyamzeli Booi, Beauty Dludlani, Angie Molebatsi, and Duma Ndleleni) are in the ANC’s top 100 candidates for the National Assembly.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela, by the way, had a five-year sentence for fraud and theft reduced on appeal to three and a half years for 43 convictions of fraud in 2004. The sentence was suspended for five years. Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela’s suspended sentence will only lapse in July this year by which time she will already be a Member of Parliament. While section 47 (1) e of the Constitution disqualifies ‘anyone who is convicted of an offence and sentence to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of fine’, it is silent about the eligibility of individuals with a suspended sentence to be nominated to Parliament. This silence, however, does not suggest that it is appropriate to nominate an individual serving a suspended sentence to be an MP. The nomination of Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela reaffirms the dominant perception that the ANC values party loyalty above good governance.

Now let’s turn to the Travelgate fraudsters. They are:

Bathabile Dlamini no 16 on their national list was ordered to repay R120 000 after receiving five year suspended sentence in 2006 for defrauding Parliament of R254 00 in travel vouchers in the Travelgate scandal.
Mnyamzeli Booi no 65 on the list is still facing fraud charges for his role in the Travelgate Scandal.

Beauty Dludlani no 58 on the list was fined R120 000 payable over 40 months for fraud involving R289 000 in the Travelgate scandal.
Angie Molebatsi no 84 on the list was sentenced to pay a R25 000 fine, or three years in jail, plus an additional five year suspended sentence in the Travelgate scandal
Duma Ndleleni no 79 on the list: She was fined R30 000 payable over three years and given a five year suspended sentence in the Travelgate scandal.

The Travelgate fraudsters collectively defrauded Parliament of millions worth of taxpayers’ money. They betrayed the same constituency they were supposed to serve with excellence: the public. The ANC never took any disciplinary action against them when they were nailed. It still failed to discipline them even after most of them pleaded guilty for their crimes. Now it sees fit to re-deploy them to the same institution they defrauded. If the ANC was as serious about fighting corruption as it claims to be it should have not nominated fraudsters to Parliament. Their nominations make a complete mockery of Jacob Zuma assertion that ‘the ANC does not condone or tolerate corruption’. In fact, all available evidence shows that the ANC rewards individuals with a history of corruption with the offer of public office.

The nomination of candidates to Parliament was a golden opportunity for the ANC to show that it is indeed serious about fighting corruption. Yet again, it squandered the opportunity like it has done in the past.

Their nominations undermine the country’s efforts to defeat the spread of the virus of corruption in the public sector. Parliament needs to be a beacon of good governance and ethical leadership. In order to be seen as such, parliamentarians and potential parliamentarians must be beyond reproach. But when the ruling party repeatedly deploys ethically tainted individuals to this institution, it creates the impression that there is nothing wrong in being embroiled in corruption as long as one is a ‘loyal cadre’ of the ANC.

The ANC has never been serious about fighting corruption. The badly thought move to disband the Scorpions is a case in particular. It is an open secret that the Scorpions were disbanded for their success in nailing corrupt ANC leaders despite all the conspiracy theories that the ANC and its alliance partners have advanced in support of the dissolution of the DSO.

The ANC will never be seen to be serious about fighting corruption for as long as it continues to elevate party loyalists with a proven track record of corruption to senior public offices. Unless, it is able to consistently show that it values ethical leadership over party loyalty, its ‘commitment to fighting corruption’ will remain what it is; empty rhetoric.

The ANC has talked the talk on corruption. But it remains to be seen whether it will ever walk that talk.

Guest blog by:
DA Political Researcher



ANC has 'created corrupt crony culture'

By Michael Georgy

Sunday April 19 2009

South African opposition parties accused the ruling ANC of creating a culture of cronyism and corruption at closing rallies yesterday before a parliamentary election this week.

The African National Congress is almost certain to win Wednesday's election -- but the party still faces its biggest challenge since coming to power at the end of apartheid in 1994.

The main issue is whether it can retain the two-thirds parliamentary majority it needs to change the constitution, as it faces criticism over its track record on crime, poverty and AIDS.

The new breakaway Congress of the People (COPE) party, formed by ANC dissidents, hopes to tap into frustrations with ANC graft scandals.

State prosecutors have given the ANC a boost by dropping graft charges against party leader Jacob Zuma, whom the new parliament is certain to elect president.

His ANC has promised to do more to bring economically disadvantaged blacks into the mainstream economy through land reform and affirmative action programmes.

But Africa's biggest economy is on the brink of recession, and Zuma will be in a difficult position. Union allies are pushing him to spend more on the poor, while foreign investors fear he will steer the economy to the left.

COPE has changed the political landscape, but analysts say its chances of breaking the ANC's dominance have faded after an initial buzz.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the ANC had let South Africa down after white-minority rule ended.

"We dared to believe in the even greater hope that South Africa could soon become an equally prosperous, fair and just society," he said. "But soon our hopes were crushed by the harsh realities that some unscrupulous members of the ruling party and erroneous policies imposed on us all."

On Friday, the IFP accused the ANC of employing "terror tactics" and injuring 13 of its members in attacks ahead of the poll.

Critics say South Africa has effectively become a one-party state because people vote for parties, not individuals, giving the ANC an enormous advantage.

Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said the ANC could turn the country into another failed African state.

"That's how the closed, crony society for comrades works. It's about making a few people rich and everyone else poor," said Zille.

- Michael Georgy


ANC lied - Zille

16/04/2009 21:18  - (SA) 

Michael Hamlyn

Cape Town - DA leader Helen Zille on Thursday accused the ANC of lying about its plans to change the Constitution to deprive local authorities of their powers.

"When I raised concerns about this bill on Monday, the Minister of Provincial and Local Government denied any knowledge of it," Zille said.

"He said: 'If Mrs Zille has such a document, she must produce it.' A spokesperson for his department also feigned ignorance, claiming: 'I don't know where [Zille] got it from but right now, as we stand there are no such plans.'

"ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte said: 'The ANC wishes to place on record that it has no intention to diminish in any way the Constitutional powers of local government'."

However, the draft Constitution 17th Amendment Bill approved by the Cabinet, Zille said, empowers national government to usurp powers from local government, and provides clear proof that the ANC wants to change the Constitution to entrench its power.

'Don't let them get two-thirds majority'

"That is why it is so important to keep the ANC below the two-thirds majority it needs to pass the bill to change the Constitution," she said.

"If voters give the ANC a two-thirds majority, the ANC will destroy the capacity of other parties to deliver where they govern.

"This shows that the ANC lies, baldly and blatantly. It treats the people of South Africa with contempt.

"The rug has now been ripped from under the ANC, and six days before the election, the Cabinet has been forced into confessing its plans."

The DA leader and mayor of Cape Town said that the ANC wants municipalities to be reduced to administrative arms of central government.

The ANC now claims the purpose is merely to facilitate the introduction of Regional Electricity Distributors as public entities.

A grave mistake

"We believe this policy step would be a grave mistake on its own and seriously threaten the viability of local government," Zille said.

"But the way the Bill is worded means that its scope is far broader than that.

"It enables national government to limit the executive authority of municipalities in respect of local government matters listed in Part B of Schedule 4 and Part B of Schedule 5.

"This includes electricity and gas reticulation, water and sanitation, fire-fighting, refuse removal, waste disposal, markets, municipal roads and cleansing.

"This Bill will be interpreted widely to enable a centralised ANC to severely limit the mandate of an elected local government, especially where the ANC does not govern and where local authorities legitimately refuse to implement ANC policies.

If it manages to pass this Constitutional amendment, giving itself a range of reasons to undermine local government, the ANC could effectively nullify voters' choice and enforce ANC policy from the centre.

- I-Net Bridge (News24)