Mahlatse Mahlase

Ramaphosa must walk the talk against corruption even if it implicates his allies

2018-09-30 07:00
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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The war within the ANC is never-ending.

The Nasrec conference forced opposing factions to work together – from the top officials to the national executive committee (NEC). However, immediately after the election results were released, the plotting against each other quickly started again while in public the leaders made empty pledges of unity.

At the centre of the war is corruption. One group wants control of the party as protection against prosecution while the other wants a clean slate for the party struggling at the polls to grow or, at least, maintain its majority vote.

Some within the ANC who supported Cyril Ramaphosa's presidential bid have pinned their hopes on the state capture commission of inquiry to expose the rot among allies of former president Jacob Zuma. The thinking is that as their corrupt actions are exposed the Hawks will quickly get to work and one by one they expect them to fall.

Judge Raymond Zondo's commission of inquiry is therefore expected to weaken the Zuma camp, especially ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. It has already implicated the likes of former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former communications minister Faith Muthambi. It has also revealed that while Magashule was premier of the Free State, the province was the biggest spender of government advertising in the Gupta family's media group. More is expected to come out when the commission deals with the Estina dairy farm.

Magashule is a walking wounded with some at Luthuli House describing him as "very frustrated as he thought as secretary general he would be as powerful as he was in Free State". He is expected to face the ire of some Ramaphosa supporters over allegations of meeting with Zuma, former North West chair Supra Mahumapelo and the Women's League secretary general Meokgo Matuba.

The Zuma faction has been under pressure since he was ousted and Mahumapelo's provincial executive disbanded. They are weaker in the NEC, with some who were elected on the faction's ticket having since jumped the Zuma ship. There is now also a possibility that the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) will be disbanded.

The Zuma group is however fighting back and have slammed Bosasa after reports that it paid for personal security upgrades for the likes of ANC MP Vincent Smith, chairperson Gwede Mantashe, deputy minister of justice and correctional services Thabang Makwetla and communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

MKMVA is demanding that the investigations into Bosasa form part of those conducted for the state capture commission.

There is also corridor talk that Zuma will make real his threats to expose the corruption under his watch. His threats have always been seen as a warning to those who speak out against corruption implicating him and his allies.

Ramaphosa will have to call for proper investigations and punitive action even against those loyal to him and who campaigned for his presidency. It will be an opportunity for him to kill the growing voices among his foes that those who did not support him ahead of Nasrec "are being purged".

Ramaphosa is said to have told an NEC meeting that despite efforts to build on uniting the party, divisions could deepen as more senior leaders are implicated by the state capture commission. He warned that the law must be allowed to take its course, hinting that he will not protect anyone.

He must speak the same language on any allegations of corruption that implicate his supporters. It is the only way to clean the party and reinforce the message that the ANC will not allow corruption to continue, especially if the party wants success in the coming elections.

The party was already punished ahead of the 2016 elections for inaction over Zuma's shenanigans. The 2019 elections are expected to be even more complex and tougher for the governing party and if Ramaphosa fails to stamp his authority and assert that he will not tolerate corruption from whichever quarter it emanates, the ANC's reputation will continue to suffer.

South Africans are watching closely the Zondo commission as it paints a clearer picture of how Zuma's administration was captured. Alongside it the Nugent commission is revealing evidence that Zuma's ally Tom Moyane ran the revenue service into the ground. Suffice it to say that patience with any form of corrupt activity has worn through.

- Mahlase is politics editor of News24.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  ace magashule  |  state capture commission  |  state capture  |  corruption
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