Reading through the ANC’s 2017 elective conference resolution on stepping aside, as well as other national executive committee (NEC) resolutions on the issue, the principle is clear: “Cadres of the ANC who are formally charged for corruption or other serious crimes must immediately step aside from all leadership positions in the ANC, legislatures or other government structures pending the finalisation of their cases.”
And there are preambles to buttress this position. The ANC needs to draw a clear line in the sand between the organisation and those who steal from the people. It agreed on decisive action to tackle corruption within the party and across society.
The NEC agreed that this would be a turning point in the fight against corruption. But where it starts to get murky is in how this will be implemented and in deciding who must enforce the policy.
This impasse has left a huge gap that has allowed the various structures of the party to implement the rule as they deem fit and at their convenience.
The party has now had two full NEC meetings to deliberate on this issue, but it is apparently incapable of moving forward.
After three days spent on this issue this week – to the exclusion of other pressing national matters such as the Covid-19 pandemic – all the leaders could muster was this: “The officials, as mandated, will develop guidelines and procedures on implementation, and the next national working committee [NWC] meeting will review progress.”
What the statement does not mention is that the NWC will make a recommendation again to the NEC for a final decision. This is where yet another deadlock will occur. It is circuitous and it is a circus.
The party’s NEC leadership appears to be refusing to abide by the resolution, despite preaching otherwise. Way too many of those in the NEC and their friends will be affected by this, and that will clearly be too high a price to pay.
So the party leaders must stop fooling the public and openly admit that none of them is prepared to step aside, regardless of their conduct.