The secretary-general of the ANC is going nowhere, declared ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni after Ace Magashule appeared in court on corruption charges on Friday.
Yengeni said it with gusto and determination to an appreciative audience at an impromptu rally held after the court appearance in Bloemfontein.
He was not the first to articulate this view, but the latest in a string of voices within the party who have made it clear that they will not heed an injunction by the party’s national executive committee that members who face criminal charges step aside from their positions.
When the party announced the new resolution three months ago, it marked a decisive moment in which the governing party was declaring war on corrupt elements who tarnish the name of the party by breaking the law.
It was largely hailed as a big step towards fighting corruption and improving the quality of leaders that the ANC employs and deploys in government.
But, since then, one after the other ANC public representative has found an excuse to not abide by it.
The floodgates were opened when ANC leaders in Limpopo – deputy chairperson Florence Radzilane and treasurer Danny Msiza – were reinstated to their positions after initially stepping down after allegedly being implicated in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank.
This allowed the likes of ANC MP Bongani Bongo to also return to his position as chairperson of a portfolio committee, despite facing corruption charges.
Then the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal reinstated its deputy chairperson, Mike Mabuyakhulu, after he had appeared before the provincial integrity commission.
Mabuyakhulu faces a long-standing corruption charge.
With its secretary-general also due to step aside, the party announced that it was still fine-tuning the resolution, and has effectively put it in abeyance.
This is a deeply regrettable decision as it allows thieves and corrupt officials to stay ensconced in their positions.
Way too many cadres would have been affected, and the party chose to toss the resolution aside to safeguard them.
It is a reminder that when it comes to the crunch, the governing party will always elevate its own interests ahead of those of the country. What a shame.