Criminal charges: Leaders are no longer innocent until proven guilty, says ANC

2015-09-22 09:33
Gwede Mantashe. (Theana Breugem, Foto24)

Gwede Mantashe. (Theana Breugem, Foto24)

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Johannesburg - The ANC has tightened the noose on members who face criminal charges, making it easier for them to be removed from party structures until they are cleared of wrongdoing, according to one of the decisions the ANC national executive committee took when it met on the weekend in Pretoria.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Monrday at a media briefing in Johannesburg that in testing whether or not action should be taken against a member accused of wrongdoing, the ANC integrity committee would look at the extent to which the case affected the reputation and image of the ANC.

Previously, ANC leaders accused of corruption had managed to avoid sanctions – stepping aside from their party or government posts – by claiming that no court of law had found them guilty.

Mantashe said the ANC integrity committee – whose powers were also increased from taking “recommendations” to making “decisions” – were not concerned about the guilt or innocence of the member.

“It is about the impact of the case on the integrity and image of the ANC. So, innocent until proven guilty does not arise in this case,” he said.

He said corruption – perceived or real – factionalism, political ill-discipline and the use of money to subvert internal democratic processes we identified as posing “a very serious and real danger to the unity and cohesion of the ANC”.

It also resolved to commission a review of the ANC’s internal electoral system as part of “dealing decisively with slate politics and the corrosive impact of money in the election of leaders”.

The ANC national integrity committee consisted of elders in the party including former speaker of the National Assembly Frene Ginwala and stalwarts Andrew Mlangeni and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn. Lower party structures – province, region and branch – also had their own integrity committees.

Mantashe said the weekend NEC meeting also received reports of the ANC youth and women’s league national conferences.

“The NEC called on the ANC Women’s League to advance the interest of women of South Africa and defend them from all manifestations of the patriarchal structure of society by inspiring hope and giving voice to their issue.”

He said the youth league was expected to become “a legitimate and credible voice of the youth; the epicentre of progressive, radical policies and practices in pursuant of the youth’s urgent call for economic freedom”.

The ANC also reshuffled its deployees to ANC provinces and NEC subcommittees. The economic transformation subcommittee was divided into two, with one arm led by NEC member Enoch Godongwana addressing planning, while another led by Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti focusing on energy and infrastructure development.

An economic reference group consisting of economists would be constituted. Their aim was to provide research and support for the economic transformation subcommittee.

Mantashe said 10 NEC members were also expected to assist NEC deployees with preparations for the elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini region, scheduled to be held on October 24. In November the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal would go to a provincial elective conference – which was expected to be marked by a leadership contest between Premier Senzo Mchunu and provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala.

Read more on:    anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  politics

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