"After consultation with my organisation, through the ANC integrity committee, and the provincial office bearers, I have decided that the most honourable thing to do under these circumstances is to step down from the executive council as the MEC."
The events leading to this statement by the controversial, now former, Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC, Humphrey Mmemezi, have been headline news of late. Why would buying a painting from McDonald’s with a government credit card not be newsworthy? Not forgetting giving his daughter an unjustified car allowance and back-paying it.
Then he has the audacity to deny the allegations as false, regarding the car accident with a state vehicle that he allegedly did not report and expenditure items on the government credit card when he went to London.
He has the audacity to blame the ambiguity of the Ministerial Handbook for the confusion that led to the personal purchases. He claims it gave him “the impression that he could use the credit card for both official and personal purchases, as long as I could repay the department where there are personal expenses.” These personal expenses include suits in India, groceries in the local grocery store, and the artwork in the office. Then he claimed to have fully refunded government for these.
Well, Humphrey, hold on.
· Are you, in any way, saying that the Ministerial Handbook contravenes the Public Financial Management Act, which seeks to curb this kind of illegal activity in government? Or you probably thought that your fellow comrades have gotten away with worse so this would just be microscopic compared to, for example, Richard Mdluli?
· In the briefing you had when you got the credit card, did they tell you to use it to buy groceries for yourself?
· What exactly did your comrades tell you at the ANC Integrity Committee (the great oxymoron)?
· Did the “Integrity Committee” demote you to just being a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, as a way of compensating you for the trouble you are in? It was not that they wanted you to step down but it would work better for someone at Mangaung. Is that right?
Since Humphrey will not answer these, folks, I am sure we can see that comradeship truly is a curse. Its offspring, corruption, stands as the greatest enemy to South Africa’s democracy.