It is four months before the elections and 25 years since we got independence from apartheid colonial rule. In that time ANC members of Parliament and in Cabinet have been implicated in the worst corruption scandal in the post-apartheid era. It appears many ANC leaders in government live by bribes and are controlled by crooks.
As we know, the Guptas appointed ministers, directors-general and executives of state-owned enterprises. Now it is the turn of the Watson brothers from the Eastern Cape, the directors of the former Bosasa Security Company.
It was the a spilling of the beans when Angelo Agrizzi told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the state capture inquiry how money laundering ended up in the coffers of the ANC for election campaigns in North West. Agrizzi told how garages and liquor stores were used to launder money. Officials at the Airports Company SA were paid bribes, as were members of correctional services and various ministers, including former president Jacob Zuma. He said Bosasa bribed prosecutors, neutralising itself from prosecution, as well as accountants responsible for cooking the books.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is emphasising the principle of “innocent until proved guilty”. In a modern legal system this is the basis of any trial leading to conviction or acquittal.
Successful prosecution requires a competent police force with competent investigative skills, writing competent statements, keeping dockets in a safe filing system. Without a competent police force all the fraud and corruption cases will be scuttled and there will be no successful arrests.
Now the worst nightmare for ANC members is to see our candidate lists for the election being made up of those implicated in the state capture inquiry, those appointed by the Guptas into leadership positions, others living off Bosasa bribes month after month and still others found to have looted the VBS bank in Limpopo. Are there any comrades we can trust on the ANC candidate list? It is clear that only a few can be trusted and relied on. Even those in the clear are guilty of not reporting their colleagues who committed these crimes. So, technically, there are no angels on the ANC candidate election lists.
What can Ramaphosa do? He can appoint competent ministers. But are there any in Parliament now? We doubt whether the national executive committee (NEC) will allow him to appoint competent ministers.
The question then is: Does the president have the courage to appoint corruption-free ministers without the support of the NEC? There are no guarantees. Ramaphosa appears to be negotiating with thieves to stop stealing. Will he succeed? Only time will tell.
This is an existential crisis for the ANC in full view of the people of South Africa.
As the brutal reality of rule by Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe hits us in the face again, so does the rule of corruption by ANC.
When you are flying into a mountain, what do you do?
Omry Makgoale is a member of the ANC