Private sector theft just as bad as government theft - Zuma

2017-12-16 20:19
President Jacob Zuma during his address at the ANC's elective conference. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

President Jacob Zuma during his address at the ANC's elective conference. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma says theft and corruption in the private sector is just as bad as it is in government, and that the ANC needs to be protected from "corporate greed".

Zuma opened the party's national elective conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg, on Saturday with his political report.

He said the private sector was treated with "kid gloves" when it came to corruption.

"It is referred [to] in softer terms, such as 'collusion', 'accounting irregularities' and 'lapses in corporate governance'.

"Theft and corruption in the private sector is as bad as in government, and must be dealt with decisively by law enforcement agencies."

Corporate collusion was now punishable by ten years in prison, he said.

ANC a 'target' for corporate greed

Zuma also attempted to soften the reasons for corruption within the party and government, saying it was a soft target for greedy businessmen.

"We need to find ways of protecting the ANC from corporate greed and ensure the decisions we take are informed by the policies of the ANC, and not dictated to by business interests.

"Already, we have received threats that the ANC will implode and the economy will collapse, if certain outcomes arise from this conference, either policy or leadership elections, if these are not favoured by business."

ALSO READ: Zuma goes on the attack during his opening address at ANC conference

The ANC had to use its 105 years of experience to build a resilient party that could stand up to "such undue pressure."

"Comrades will know the deep and bitter legacy of economic collusion, which is equivalent to a form of a corruption, like in the days of apartheid where companies would meet in secret and decide prices.

"These cartels squeeze out small players and hamper the entry of young entrepreneurs and black industrialists."

More than 20 companies had been exposed in rigging bids for the 2010 World Cup stadiums. The Competition Commission has also investigated collusion by 18 global and local banks involving the foreign exchange markets, he said.

"The ANC must promote black advancement and success, and fight attempts aimed at undermining black economic empowerment and affirmative action."

Prayers for unity

The opening session was delayed by an hour and a half, as delegates waited for the top six leaders to arrive at the venue.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's supporters were out in full force, chanting their candidate's name, while her opponent Cyril Ramaphosa's supporters were comparably quieter.

Zuma and Ramaphosa greeted Dlamini-Zuma and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as they entered, before national chairperson Baleka Mbete kicked things off.

The session started with various inter-faith prayers, some alluding to a house divided, and the "devils among us" that sought to divide the ANC.

Others prayed that the newly elected leaders would unite the party.

The party will formally nominate the candidates for positions later on Saturday. The new leadership is expected to be announced on Sunday.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  anc votes  |  corruption  |  anc leadership race

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