ANC’s Bosasa hot potato leads to stringent vetting process

President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the ANC national executive committee meeting at the Saint Georges Hotel, Irene on January 20 2019. Picture: Masi Losi/Sowetan/Gallo Images
President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the ANC national executive committee meeting at the Saint Georges Hotel, Irene on January 20 2019. Picture: Masi Losi/Sowetan/Gallo Images

The Bosasa debacle has piled pressure on the ANC to show that it will not allow corrupt elements in its leadership.

ANC leaders who want a clean-out are banking on the internal election vetting process for parliamentary lists to root out the rogue elements linked to the Bosasa rot, as evidence mounts at the Zondo commission that party leaders and state officials were in the pockets of businesspeople.

City Press learnt that among the questions in the elections vetting form, candidates had to disclose whether anyone had accused them of corruption, factionalism or even leaking information.

That, said an insider in the camp of President Cyril Ramaphosa, was the imminent trap for the Bosasa accused and fellow travellers.

“At minimum, those accused must appear before the integrity commission before the election list is finalised.”

But others said the party was speaking in forked tongues on the Bosasa issue because the corruption allegations cut across factions and all sides are implicated, including Ramaphosa’s backers, “and therefore no action will be taken”.

“The vetting process will fail because the ANC has already issued a directive that the allegations be parked until the commission finishes its work,” said an ANC veteran.

They added that “the vetting process will also turn out to be a meaningless exercise because some of the questions asked in the vetting form were too clumsy, played into factional considerations and created room for mudslinging”.

“How do you ask whether the candidates know anyone who has ever been involved in factional conduct? People will take the opportunity to finger their political opponents and it will only entrench factions.”

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the vetting process was under way and the team was rounding the provinces after processing some of the candidates who were available at the national executive committee lekgotla last weekend.

Kodwa said the vetting process covered questions around personal information, life in the ANC, history in the ANC, understanding of party policies, negative records, convictions, disciplinary cases, as well as factional and divisive conduct.

“It is a private document with confidential information, so it is not for public consumption,” he said, adding that the process was ahead of schedule as the electoral commission had not pronounced on the lists and Ramaphosa had not proclaimed the election date.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the trade union federation “agrees with the notion that accusations do not mean someone is guilty. The rules of natural justice should be allowed to continue unimpeded and the accused also deserve a chance to defend themselves from their accusers”.

Politically, though, said Pamla, “the ANC does suffer from an image problem and its internal systems are not good enough to help with the process of its rehabilitation”.

“It promised to give its integrity commission teeth, but so far the results have been disappointing. It does not inspire confidence to have leadership in higher structures, and which is holding senior positions in government, facing serious accusations of corruption,” he said.

An ANC stalwart said that the vetting process would also fail to provide the necessary intervention.

“How do you tell people who have refused to step down for many years in the face of serious allegations, and even convictions, that it is time to go? They will not.”

He said the ANC’s national conference resolutions were clear that those who are implicated in alleged wrongdoing should immediately step down, but the Ramaphosa group was now “somersaulting because Bosasa also hits their people”.

The stalwart said an even bigger problem for the ANC is that no opposition has been implicated so far and the allegations hit only within the ANC.

“It gives the opposition an open platform to launch a corruption campaign against the ANC and how will you tell the voters that it is not true?”

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