What does the ANC do when cornered about corruption? Close ranks

At a recent Joburg council meeting, when a motion was put forward that two members of the ANC go before the ethics committee the organisation closed ranks and shut down the meeting. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images
At a recent Joburg council meeting, when a motion was put forward that two members of the ANC go before the ethics committee the organisation closed ranks and shut down the meeting. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images

An organisation is an embodiment of the character of its leaders.

When its leaders are good, stoical and steeped in high moral and ethical standing, so will the character of their organisation be molded in that fashion.

The credibility, integrity and moral standing of leaders are important qualities that add to the reputation of an organisation.

The good actions of leaders can, therefore, uplift the image of that organisation. Similarly, the converse is the case. Building the reputation of an organisation is a difficult task and takes collective effort. But destroying it is easy.

It takes an individual or two, to drag an entire organisation into disrepute.

Few people would disagree that there was a time when the ANC was held in high esteem. That was a time when leaders of the ANC epitomised black excellence and inspired African pride. Collectively, as a society we drew our inspiration from the selfless stewardship of that leadership. This was the time when there was harmony between what was contained in ANC documents on selection of leadership and what it did in practice.

This is what the revered “Through the eye of the needle: Choosing the best cadres to lead transformation” document said: “A leader should lead by example. He should be above reproach in his political and social conduct – as defined by our revolutionary morality. Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the National Democratic Revolution includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.”

But that was then. The ANC today is a shadow of its former self.

Truth be told, the ANC has become synonymous with corruption. It is no longer the African National Congress; “ANC” today seems to stand for Alleged National Criminals organisation, as some analysts have already suggested.

We are learning from the state capture commission that indeed Bathabile Dlamini was, for once, correct: all of them have some little skeletons. All hell is breaking loose at the Zondo Commission.

The name ANC conjures up images of thieves lining their pockets at the expense of the poor. The ANC leaders of today seem to be selfish individuals driven by desire for pomposity, materialism and greed, feeding their stomachs while the people languish in destitution.

They did not engage in the struggle to be poor, so they say. They have thrown the values of altruism through the window.

Meanwhile the ANC in Gauteng has generally presented itself as different from Jacob Zuma’s corrupt ANC.

Yet, as Zuma was siphoning state resources, the leadership of the ANC in Gauteng, especially in Johannesburg region, was not sleeping – they were taking notes, developing all sorts of schemes with their spouses and concubines to steal municipal funds.

Since Herman Mashaba took over as the executive mayor of Joburg, skeletons have been tumbling out of the closet. A lot of corruption has been exposed and some of it shows the ANC as a direct beneficiary of corruption.

The recent scandal involving allegations of corruption against Parks Tau and Geoff Makhubo around the City of Johannesburg contract with Regiments Capital investment exposes the real character of the ANC and its leaders in Joburg.

Tau is former mayor of Joburg and Joburg’s regional chairperson of the ANC, and was once member of the mayoral committee of finance. Makhubo is current Joburg’s regional chairperson of the ANC and was member of the mayoral committee for finance when Tau was catapulted to the position of executive mayor.

The tender that saw Regiments Capital being contracted to become the sinking fund managers for the City happened under their watch.

However, it has now been revealed by Amabungane that this tender benefited their wives, the ANC (through funding of regional conferences) and Makhubo, who allegedly benefited more than R30 million.

The links between the Regiments Capital and the Guptas is already known and the fact that Makhubo and Tau are embroiled in this scandal places them and their party’s regional structure deeply into the pockets of the Guptas.

It is for these reasons that I seconded a motion to haul the two musketeers to the ethics committee for them to account on these serious allegations. It is not surprising therefore that the ANC collapsed council this week when this motion was debated.

It is not a few rotten apples that the party needs to rid itself of the image of corruption – the entire organisation is thoroughly corrupt.

Listening to the Zondo commission, it is becoming very clear to the electorate that the ANC is rotten to the core!

Many ANC leaders have grown fat from the gravy train of tender corruption and can no longer pass through the eye of the needle.

Tau might look slim and innocent in appearance, but if the allegations against him in this Regiments Capital scandal were affirmed, that would hoist him high among the angels of corruption such as John Bloc and Tony Yengeni.

The allegations against Makhubo are no less serious than those against Jacob Zuma or Nomvula Mokonyane.

It should be clear by now that under the ANC, swindlers and thieves have been allowed to ravage state resources with impunity.

The people voted them into government and they took the opportunity to serve in public office as their “time to eat”.

The reality is that a leader with a good reputation is a source of pride to his colleagues and his organisation, but a dubious leader is surely a source of embarrassment to his party.

It would be expected, under normal circumstances, for the party to distance itself from such embarrassing individuals, but that the party has chosen to close rank, defend and protect them from appearing before the ethics committee sends a clear message to society that the ANC is not serious about fighting corruption.

But again, maybe we are just too naïve to expect the ANC to allow the two to be held accountable when the party itself was allegedly meant to benefit from the same scandal.

The ANC caucus in Joburg may have chosen not to listen to us when we pleaded with them to vote for our motion, but they would ignore the wise counsel of Joel Netshitenzhe, their leading intellectual, at their own peril.

Netshitenzhe advised back in 2017 in the last months of Jacob Zuma’s stranglehold on the ANC and government that: “A thief in the family can’t be shielded for unity’s sake. That is complicity.”

It is very clear from this last council meeting that the ANC in Joburg was not only complicit in corruption, the organisation remains active and united in condoning corruption.

The ANC, Tau and Makhubo must know that until they clear themselves against these allegations, the stigma of corruption will haunt and torment them as vigilantly as it has done to their mentor, Jacob Zuma.

Ngobeni is a member of the mayoral committee of finance and leader of executive business

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