State capture inquiry, Sars inquiry, home affairs Gupta naturalisation inquiry, Public Investment Corporation inquiry and the VBS bank robbery – all these reflect malaise inside the ANC, as well as inside government and state institutions.
All the perpetrators don our ANC colours – the black, green and gold.
All these inquiries feature ANC leaders and members who lack integrity and others who are outright criminals.
It is a shame to us members. These are the trails of former president Jacob Zuma.
After the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung elective conference, the party’s integrity commission – led by former Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, a veteran of the 1956 Women’s March to Pretoria against pass laws – constituted the best in the ANC.
It demanded Zuma to resign on several occasions without success. He told the commission that he was elected by branches of the ANC and that he would only be answerable to the branches.
Without the support of the ANC president, the integrity commission was toothless and used mainly as a lobby group.
It is with this background that we look at the new integrity commission and its latest assignment – the VBS bank heist report.
Those who are alleged to have benefited from the fiasco include Limpopo ANC treasurer Danny Msiza, deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani and KPMG former auditor Sipho Malaba, as well as municipal mayors and managers.
Can municipal officials really claim not to know the Municipal Finance Management Act? It is expected that after taking office as municipal officials they undergo induction to know their work.
If there was no induction, we assume they can read and they should have made it their duty to read the municipal laws. We assume that municipal officials are literate, but anything was possible under Zuma.
The integrity commission under George Mashamba, a former Robben Island prisoner, takes over the reins in a highly charged atmosphere after Zuma hollowed out most state and government departments, such as police under Nkosinathi Nhleko, prosecution authority under Shaun Abrahams, home affairs under Malusi Gigaba, minerals and energy under Mosebenzi Zwane and state-owned enterprises under Lynne Brown.
These departments worked closely with the Guptas and were used as cash cows for the merchant family.
As former Free State premier, Ace Magashule – now ANC secretary-general, in charge of Luthuli House and all ANC MPs – facilitated the funding of the Gupta wedding via the Estina dairy farm project, defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula facilitated the landing of the Gupta wedding entourage at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
When the previous integrity commission raised its concerns, naturally they were not listened to by Zuma and his subordinates in Cabinet.
None of the implicated officials resigned. They remained in office despite the damage to the integrity of the ANC and the welfare of the nation.
When the president does not have integrity, the integrity commission cannot work. This was proved beyond doubt under Zuma.
The new integrity commission has a full plate to chew on. On the surface it appears straightforward; the ANC has a “through the eye of the needle” policy, which describes how ANC leaders are supposed to conduct themselves – with integrity.
But according to the country’s Constitution all are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
This is the law which most ANC officials use to linger on even when it is glaringly obvious that they have committed despicable acts.
This is the law Zuma used when faced with the Nkandla scandal that he used taxpayers’ money to build his compound.
Worse still, when former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela declared that he must pay for non-security items such as the swimming pool, Zuma refused until he was taken to the Constitutional Court by the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng then pronounced that Zuma failed to protect the law of the land by not honouring the Public Protector’s report. Zuma was a president without a grain of integrity.
He still thinks he was right and currently his supporters are running a campaign, arguing: “Wenzeni uZuma?” (What has Zuma done?)
The whole of South Africa knows very well what he’s done!
It’s now the ANC itself, through its new integrity commission, that is under scrutiny before the eyes of the nation.
After the Nasrec elective conference last December, which elected Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president, the new body has to prove its worth.
Whether it will be effective or not will depend fully on the will, character and the support it gets from Ramaphosa.
Only if he is firm on what is right and wrong, and implements all the recommendations of the commission, can the wheels begin to turn in the right direction.
The VBS bank heist is indeed a prototype case for Ramaphosa’s presidency. Those implicated should be recalled as ANC deployees and be placed on suspension until their cases are cleared in court.
Most of them are expected to rebel against that, hoping that the Nasrec-elected national executive committee (NEC), which is full of Gupta deployees – will defend them.
This will be the real test for Ramaphosa as ANC president, to clean up ANC deployees in government and the state while facing stiff opposition inside the Zuma-captured NEC.
The integrity commission can only investigate, put the facts on the table and recommend that ANC officials implicated in the VBS bank heist resign from their posts or be removed, and that the mayors and municipal officials implicated in the heist and deployed under ANC colours be removed and replaced.
It will be up to Ramaphosa to implement the recommendations of the integrity commission.
If he does not act against the VBS fraudsters he will be regarded as a toothless president with no courage. Ramaphosa is being tested and the stakes could not be higher.
Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC