This week brought further revelations about ANC heavyweights and government officials either personally benefiting from corrupt dealings or having close friends and family irregularly benefiting from the state.
The Daily Maverick exposed the way Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s friends (or, to use his parlance, his comrades) raked in tens of millions of rands from government tenders that he admitted were irregular.
This information was particularly disappointing, as Mkhize had been seen as a steady and reliable minister during the Covid-19 crisis.
Mkhize’s comrades benefited even before that period from the National Health Insurance communication. They also won tenders from the local government portfolio when Mkhize was the minister there.
In addition, some of them had been part of his failed 2017 bid to be elected as ANC president. Yet, despite these disgraceful revelations, Mkhize sees no need to resign or step aside from his portfolio until investigations are complete.
Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa was also exposed this week for living high on the hog at the expense of private companies that were benefiting from government tenders. Kodwa allegedly received payments and luxury accommodation worth R2 million from EOH director Jehan Mackay between 2015 and 2017.
The evidence so far suggests that Kodwa was paid by EOH in return for his political influence, as he was ANC national spokesperson at the time. He has denied any wrongdoing and boasts that he is not facing any criminal charges – an important observation, since it means he is exempt from the ANC’s ruling that those who have not been criminally charged are free to continue living merrily.
The same applies to Mkhize, who only has to deny the allegations made against him to stay in his position.
The ANC has set the bar so low that one can pretty much get away with anything until the National Prosecuting Authority announces that it is charging one.
This is a blight on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s so-called war on corruption. He should be demanding more from his ministers and their deputies, and taking firm action when they fall short.
It makes no sense for him to crow about tackling corruption from the Zuma years when far more recent misuse of funds has happened under his watch, with no immediate consequences.