The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation board chairperson Derek Hanekom has slammed the controversial redeployment of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede who was sworn in as a member of the provincial legislature in the KwaZulu-Natal earlier this week.
“These are the kind of things we cannot tolerate, even within our own organisation [the ANC]. We will take issue with this, we will take this matter up.
“These are the things that have made society angry and given rise to huge disappointment, in fact disillusion in some ways,” Hanekom said on Friday evening.
Gumede was sworn in despite facing corruption charges with 17 others over a Durban solid waste tender worth millions of rands.
She is currently out on bail.
The former tourism minister was speaking at the Kathrada foundation’s “rally against Covid-19 corruption” on what would have been the late struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s 91st birthday.
Hanekom welcomed the recent surge of arrests by the Special Investigating Unit and the Hawks of those suspected of looting Covid-19 funds.
This week five former and current officials of the Free State government were arrested while the acting city manager of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mvuleni Mapu was also nabbed on charges of fraud and corruption.
Hanekom condemned the looting of Covid-19 funds by officials who have no conscience and said it was encouraging to see law enforcement working swiftly to hold the culprits accountable.
“We cannot allow those in powerful positions, along with their greedy friends in the private sector, to abuse our democracy. We cannot allow them to hide under the guise of championing transformation when in fact they steal from bellies of the poor,” Hanekom said.
The Reverend Frank Chikane, of the SA Council of Churches, said that corruption was not what freedom fighters fought for. He reiterated that the civil society should organise itself to ensure that those responsible do not get away with it.
Chikane said the country has a problem of morally bankrupt leaders, adding that Nelson Mandela’s vision was a far cry from the nation’s current climate of corruption and looting.
“It is not what we struggled for, this is not what comrades sacrificed [their lives] for, this is not what people died for,” he said.
He suggested that the country move towards a hybrid system of electing a president, where the people appointed who they believed was the best person for the job as opposed to the current system that relies on political party members to elect the country’s leaders.
Hanekom announced that there would be a weekend of action “to demonstrate anger against Covid-19 corruption” at the end of this month. This would involve pickets, car cades and orange mask Fridays.
More details of this plan would be relayed later, he said.