ANC must take a firm stand on all corruption

2014-10-05 15:00

Dealing with perceptions can be as important as dealing with reality when you’re fighting corruption.

And the ANC seems to have realised this.

Its spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, told journalists this week: “The issue of corruption is damaging the integrity of the ANC, even if there are allegations that are factually incorrect.”

So the party set up an integrity commission in 2012 that would act against members and leaders accused of wrongdoing, whether they had been convicted in court or not. The reasoning was that court cases could drag on for years and, by the time there was a verdict, the ANC’s reputation would have been damaged.

This was a sober departure from those heady days when loyalists insisted that then party deputy Jacob Zuma was innocent until proven guilty on corruption charges.

Incredibly, Zuma has survived even as more controversies, including Nkandla, bedevil him.

The ANC commendably dropped former communications minister Dina Pule from its parliamentary lists after she misused state funds to benefit her lover.

But with no constituency, she was easy to dispense with. But when the integrity commission starts asking hard questions of a popular, if flawed, youth leader such as Pule Mabe, it is being met with resistance from the same party that is disputing the body’s report on Mabe.

Similarly, a provincial structure of the ANC, the Northern Cape, has erupted in anger after the commission found against its chairperson, John Block.

The ANC now has a choice. Does it allow its structures to be delegitimised because it is probing too deeply? Or does it allow the integrity commission to follow in the footsteps of the judiciary, the Public Protector and all those who have been attacked for doing their work?

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