Graft biggest threat to ANC

2012-01-07 15:59

Senior leaders of the 100-year-old ANC have underlined corruption as one of the biggest threats to the ruling party.

Treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, national executive committee (NEC) member Lindiwe Sisulu and ANC Veterans League NEC member Reverend Motlalepula Chabaku said the party is struggling to shake off the scourge of corruption in the government it’s been leading since 1994.

Taking stock of the ANC’s performance in government, Sisulu – who is minister of defence and ­military veterans and chairperson of the ANC’s social transformation committee – said they had not been successful in eradicating graft.

“In some areas we have not moved as fast as we should, like corruption. We didn’t know being in government would be as ­challenging as it is ... also from ­being a liberation movement and suddenly you’ve got all this money as a ruling party, is a big step”.

Phosa, in a piece written for City Press (see Voices), said the ANC needed to address corruption in a “dramatic and direct fashion that discourages the public and the ­private sector from engaging in ­activities that siphon off huge amounts of taxpayers’ money”.

The ANC’s biggest challenge is to “draw a line under the corrupt practices that we have seen over the years”, he said.

Chabaku was more direct: “From here (after the centenary celebrations) let’s clean up. People must be shameful to eat stolen goods and help end corruption.”

Phosa and Sisulu, however, hold different views on the service delivery approach. While the treasurer-general is of the view that the provision of “quality and timeous services” to South Africans should be scaled up, Sisulu cautioned against creating a “nanny state”.

“I think our people complain ­because they know nothing else, because we as government have ­also turned ourselves into a ­delivery vehicle,” said Sisulu.

“I’m very happy that the new ­national planning commission plan makes sure people are at the centre of ­democracy and they participate ­effectively in government programmes.”

Sisulu said, as the ruling party, the ANC should change citizens’ mindset of a nanny state. “Of course we haven’t been able to deliver on other tasks because we made unrealistic commitments. We delivered some and failed to ­deliver others, but our hearts have always been in the right place.”

But slow economic transformation still haunts the ANC 17 years after heading up government. ­Phosa said the “economic liberation” of South Africans must happen, including the proper distribution of wealth and more meaningful social security, with the provision of sustainable health and educational services.

Sisulu agreed, but blames the government of national unity talks for this: “The ANC gave much more than any other group of people would have given.

“We gave up a lot. Having participated in the struggle for so long we knew we had to make compromises. We were made to accept things that we never thought we would accept (during Codesa talks).”

“That process came with ‘casualties, particularly economic casualties’.”

Veterans League’s Chabaku said the ANC’s challenges did not overshadow its successes.

“There are many negative things in the party that we need to discuss but there are also many treasures that we need to hold on to.”

There has been talk both in and outside of the ANC highlighting the need for the party to reinvent itself and Phosa believes that reinvention lies in “moving away from being brilliant and successful liberators” to being “brilliant and successful governors”.

Chabaku said the aim of the ­centenary celebration was “not just to celebrate these 100 years, but to recommit to contributing ­towards the next 100 years”.

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