ANC elders' open letter to corrupt comrades: 'Remove yourself from party list'
Last week, candidate lists for Parliament and provinciallegislatures were presented to the Electoral Commission (IEC) bypolitical parties. Some of these lists raise serious questions about thesuitability of some of the candidates. As members of the ANC, we do not deem itour duty to comment on lists presented by other political parties. Our strongbelief is that candidates on the ANC list should be above ethical reproach, forthat is what South Africans expect of the party that played a pivotal role inushering in democracy in South Africa.
Since 1994/5, the vast majority of South Africans who casttheir votes during local, provincial and national elections supported ourorganisation, the African National Congress (ANC).
The overwhelming majority of these voters were notcard-carrying members of the ANC. They had an appreciation of what the ANCstood for, recognised its pivotal role in the successful struggle against the apartheid regime and had a deep respect for its leaders. They also shared theirvision for a non-sexist and a non-racist future South Africa. They read goodthings about our leadership and party in newspapers and listened with greatattention to the speeches our leaders gave in Parliament and other public fora.They watched our leaders on television and enthusiastically attended meetingsand participated in events organised by the ANC. The general populace respectedANC leaders for their integrity, honesty and exemplary behaviour.
More recently, it has become apparent to these same SouthAfricans, who always admired and voted for the ANC, that some of the leadingmembers of their beloved organisation have been implicated in acts ofcorruption of one sort or another. Inappropriate appointments have been made tosenior positions in government and state institutions, often resulting inquestionable decisions being made to the detriment of good governance.
A few years ago, the media reported on the #GuptaLeaks, theemails leaked from servers belonging to businesses of a certain Gupta family.Members of this family, who had befriended certain ANC leaders, were using thisfriendship to inappropriately influence the awarding of government tenders andsenior appointments in state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, Transnet, Deneland others, with the view to corruptly making money. These state enterprisesbecame objects of massive looting by private sector companies like KPMG,McKinsey, SAP and others who were acting in collusion with individuals whoenjoyed close relations with ANC leaders and government ministers.
Recently, the public was treated to testimony, given underoath, of unbelievable acts of corruption perpetrated by a company previouslyknown as Bosasa but which has since changed its name to African GlobalOperations. This company had secured government contracts, and maintained them,it was reported, by bribing government officials and a slew of otherdecision-makers in the public service, the criminal justice system, Parliamentas well as Cabinet ministers and senior ANC politicians.
The accumulation and escalation of acts of corruptionassociated with the ANC and its government continues to disturb South Africansociety. Not least, it upsets people who always held the organisation close totheir hearts and voted for it during elections. If some of these supporters arenow reviewing their allegiance to the ANC, others appear to have already given upon it. This was confirmed during the organisation's disastrous performance inthe 2016 local government elections when the organisation lost control of theJohannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros.
The poor administration of many local, provincial andnational government institutions has over time resulted in shoddy andunacceptable levels of service to the populace. Not comfortable with joiningother parties, significant numbers of our traditional supporters simply did notbother to cast their votes during the 2016 local government elections referredto above. If ANC persons who have been associated with acts of corruption,allowed it to take place or failed to take effective measures to stop it, arepresented for re-election on 8 May 2019, who is to tell how our supporters willvote this time around?
The number of commissions that President Ramaphosa hasestablished since coming to office a year ago show clearly that corruption hascontinued unabated. The president deserves to be congratulated, not only forcommissioning these investigations but also for ensuring that their proceedingsare open to the media and the public. Hair-raising testimony that implicatesimportant ANC personalities has been presented at the state capture commissionchaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo; the SARS commission ongovernance irregularities, chaired by retired Judge Robert Nugent; the PublicInvestment Corporation investigation led by former Supreme Court of Appeal,Judge Lex Mpati; and at the NPA commission led by former Constitutional CourtJudge Yvonne Mokgoro.
The unmistakable narrative in all these investigationspaints a picture of unrestrained corruption whose main actors are personsclosely connected to government, and in some instances, senior ANC officials.
It is against this background that we, long-serving membersof the African National Congress, request comrades who have been implicated incorruption reported in the commissions of inquiry and elsewhere, or were duringthe past five years adjudged to have behaved unethically by, for instance,lying under oath, to reconsider their present nomination for Parliament or theprovincial legislatures. By withdrawing their names from the electoral list,they will be saying to the public at large that although perception is notalways reality, they would rather await the opportunity to have their namescleared than serve under a cloud of suspicion. We believe that this would be anadmirable show of character. We have been made aware that [some] of the leadershave done so already. We salute them.
In making this plea, we would like to make it clear thatwithdrawing their names from the list would not in any way imply an admissionof guilt.
If the withdrawal of their names from the list were to beaccompanied by a clear statement that these comrades fully support the president's effort to eradicate corruption, it would send a message that theyare part of and are committed to the fight against corruption that has begun inearnest.
Here is your opportunity, comrades, to demonstrate yourcommitment to the values of your beloved African National Congress.