Fighting greed as Gwala would

2010-06-28 00:00

FIGHTING corruption and condemning the government’s failure to act decisively against corrupt officials, as is happening at Ithala Bank, will be one way to honour the memory of South African Communist Party stalwart, the late Harry Gwala.

This was the message from Khaye Nkwanyana, the deputy national secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL), who spoke in the city yesterday. He was delivering the second Harry Gwala memorial lecture, which was instituted by the YCL as a way of keeping alive the memory and legacy left by Gwala.

Nkwanyana said Gwala as a communist would have fought greed in government and the use of state resources to enrich oneself at the expense of the poor.

“If there is one battle we must fight and win, it is this one of fraud and corruption, even if we are the last standing on the frontline.” he said.

What is worse, Nkwanyana added, is the manner in which officials are getting away with their actions.

He referred to Ithala Bank where the CEO Sipho Shabalala received a written warning for giving out a R169 million contract without going through the tender process.

Earlier in the lecture, Matthews Ndlovu, of trade unions federation Cosatu, pointed out that a written warning is usually removed from an employee’s file after six months.

Nkwanyana added that this seems to have become a pattern in the country. The Special Investigation Unit has repor­ted a number of cases in various parliaments both at national and provincial level.

“These reports have speci­fic re­commendations on what action to take against the culprits responsible for the hundreds of millions embezzled, but they are being shelved and not acted upon to protect indivi­duals.”

Nkwanyana said Gwala had spoken out openly and honestly and had been prepared to ruffle feathers if what was happening was going against the interests of the working class.

“Today, we have strange comrades who, before raising issues or assuming a bold political posture, worry about whom to offend or not, because they might commit career suicide, in particular when deployment comes. As a result, wrong things are less challenged with the strength and vigour that they should be,” he added.

Nkwanyana said that above all, there is a need for decisive leadership, similar to what Gwala had offered. This will allow the ANC to fulfil the promises of its election manifesto.

This is important because members cannot continue to carry a begging bowl for votes, asking for a new mandate when the party falls short of its election promises.

“Voters ultimately will punish us dearly, like in many African states where liberation movements are no longer in power.”

The YCL leader called on his fellow comrades to celebrate the life of Gwala by fighting anti-communist tendencies in the ruling party.

He said that what is happening in the ANC today has the potential to supersede what they were subject to under the Mbeki era.

THE Democratic Alliance is calling for a commission of inquiry into the Ithala tender transgression. DA leader in the KZN Legislature John Steenhuisen said they examined the audit report and believe there are 23 serious findings against Ithala CEO Sipho Shabalala that could warrant his immediate dismissal.

Steenhuisen said the matter is a litmus test for Premier Zweli Mkhize’s administration. So far, the limp response by both Mkhize and the MEC for Economic Development, Mike Mabuyakhulu, begs the question: why is Shabalala being treated as royal game? He said every new revelation shows that the Ithala CEO enjoys political protection at the highest level.

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