Corruption high on ANC’s agenda

2010-08-03 16:24

The ANC says that the conviction of former police boss Jackie

Selebi is a sign that the country’s criminal justice system is working.

Responding to a question about the 15-year sentence handed down by

the South Gauteng High Court to the former Interpol head, ANC secretary-general

Gwede Mantashe said a working justice system was “a plus for democracy”.

“Whether the person is associated with the ANC or not, the criminal

justice system must play its role without due influence. That the criminal

justice system is working is a plus for our democracy,” he said.

Judge Meyer Joffe described Selebi, who was found guilty of having

a corrupt relationship with convicted drug lord Glenn Agliotti, as an

embarrassment to both the country and to those who appointed him to his

erstwhile position.

ANC political education head Tony Yengeni said graft would come up

for discussion at the party’s national general council in Durban next


“Corruption is a serious problem.

Some people are beginning to

question whether ANC leaders are voices of morality,” he said.

He also suggested that the party could look at how other countries,

such as China, handled public sector corruption.

He said the Chinese set up an

anti-corruption unit to monitor big projects before any major deals were

approved so that “you don’t give people millions and end up with no roads and


“Our code of conduct and discipline is going to be strengthened so

that it’s only the courts that must deal with this matter,” Yengeni said.

The discussion on graft is set to pit the party against its

alliance partners – the SA Communist Party (SACP) and trade union federation


Cosatu and the SACP believed that President Jacob Zuma was failing

to take action against some of his ministers accused of corruption.

A Cosatu affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA

(Numsa), said Selebi’s conviction gave Zuma a chance to set up special courts to

deal with corruption.

“There is no better time than now for the President of the

Republic, Jacob Zuma, to declare corruption and irregular tendering as public

enemy number one to the point of setting up Special Courts at municipal,

provincial and national level to speedily deal with all acts or suspicion of

corruption,” said Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese.

However, the ANC defended its appointment of former Western Cape

premier Ebrahim Rasool as ambassador to the United States despite allegations

that he had bribed a journalist to write stories slanted in his favour and

rubbish his rivals.

For the first time, the ruling party also revealed that it fired

Rasool after allegations that he paid Cape Town journalist Ashley Smith bribes

to publish the stories.

This happened before Smith confessed to accepting the “brown

envelopes” from Rasool, Mantashe said.

However, Mantashe defended Rasool’s appointment and cast aspersions

on Smith’s motive for making the confession when the ambassador was about to

take up his post.

“I am very cynical about this confession. If the journalist lied

for a fee, why shouldn’t we believe that he is lying for a fee now?”

“To me, he is lying for a fee. He is angry that Rasool is getting

deployed,” he added.

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