Trade union federation Cosatu has demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa take action against his ANC colleagues who are looting funds meant for Covid-19 coronavirus relief.
Speaking during a briefing after its central executive committee meeting on Wednesday morning, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said Ramaphosa should “swing a big axe” to get rid of leaders implicated in corruption and those under investigation.
“We are calling for that big axe for whoever is found to be corrupt. We know there are processes, but we are saying that these processes take too long. We are saying that if you are implicated in any corruption, you must face the big axe.
“Nothing is stopping the president from dealing with corruption in the party and the state. We have the Nasrec resolution that says anyone who is implicated in any form of corruption or criminal act must be internally told to step aside. We need to use this together with state law,” she said.
On Wednesday, Cosatu said it was tired of hearing empty words from Ramaphosa, following a letter he sent to ANC members in which he said the ANC was “accused number 1” in South Africa’s corruption problem.
“The ANC may not stand alone in the dock, but it does stand as accused number 1. This is the stark reality that we must now confront,” Ramaphosa said in the hard-hitting letter.
Meanwhile, Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation wanted to speed up prosecutions of corrupt individuals.
“Ramaphosa must stop negotiating with criminals and use the only language that they will understand, which is prosecution and sentencing.
“We want nothing of the statements and letters he has been writing on corruption. We want to see presidential action being taken,” said Ntshalintshali.
He said Cosatu would begin mobilising for major strike action in the first week of October.
The federation plans to go on a general strike on October 7, with the protest focusing on corruption and perceived inaction by the government.
There is growing anger over corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by politically connected people.
Possible tender irregularities in the procurement of PPE in Gauteng have already led to the president’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, and provincial health MEC Bandile Masuku taking a leave of absence pending the outcome of investigations by the Special Investigating Unit.
Losi used the opportunity to highlight that the state capture commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was not effective in stopping corruption.
“We wake up to allegations daily and all we get is a commission that is commissioned to find whether it is capable of finding corruption. [The Zondo commission is an] unnecessary process.
“We want more action. President Ramaphosa’s campaign was poetic and when it is time for him to act, all we get is processes. There are tedious processes that are making it difficult to get to the source of the problem, people are getting impatient,” she said.
Losi took the opportunity to condemn the ANC for appointing members who are facing criminal charges.
“We are calling for that big axe for those that are deemed to be corrupt ... [A] case in point [is] a person who is facing criminal charges, who has been charged and is out on bail and is appearing in court, and you expect us to trust you when you say the very same person can still run a seat in government at the level of the province?” she charged.
Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail for her alleged role in a tender scandal that involved councillors, officials and service providers. The revised amount for the allegedly looted money stands at R389 million, but investigators have said the total could increase as the probe continues.