Lifestyle audits are no panacea

2010-02-20 13:06

THE call by trade union federation Cosatu for an audit of the

lavish lifestyles of ANC leaders in the party and government is a double-edged

sword. If it does not go ahead it will expose the liberation’s movement

unwillingness to fight corruption.

If it goes ahead it may expose the rot that has engulfed the once

glorious liberation movement. The audit call comes at a time of fierce factional

battles in the tripartite alliance for leadership positions at the ANC’s

elective conference in 2012. And it can be read as a ­volley by one faction to

get the upper hand over more showy comrades.

But since most ANC leaders live in the land of Blingola, the audit

call could backfire if the auditors were to examine the lifestyle habits of

communists and unionists.

The audit has the hallmarks of the arms deal scandal – it will not

only hurt the individuals suspected of corruption, but has the potential to

inflict damage on the reputation of the ANC as a whole. It will show how the

governing party has become a home for wealth accumulation for individuals. It is

no longer a party that acts for and represents the poor.

Is the reputational risk to the ANC reason enough not to go ahead

with the lifestyle audits? It may well fall through the cracks, but we hope not.

We ought not to be confused in debates by different ANC groups, but focus on the

fact that this exercise will expose the disease that has eroded our


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