ANC structures in Limpopo want VBS-linked party officials back - Jessie Duarte

Jessie Duarte leads an ANC press conference.
Jessie Duarte leads an ANC press conference.
Palesa Dlamini, City Press
  • ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte says party structures in Limpopo back the decision to reinstate two officials implicated in the VBS looting scandal.
  • She says the ANC will still discuss the matter with its alliance partners - the SACP and Cosatu.
  • Duarte says it’s a case of "justice delayed is justice denied", as the two's lives had been in limbo.

ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte says all the party's regions and structures in Limpopo have agreed that the two officials who were implicated in the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank should be reinstated.

She said it was a case of "justice delayed is justice denied", as the two officials - provincial deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani and treasurer Danny Msiza - had offered themselves up for scrutiny before both the law and the party, yet nothing had come of it.

The two are linked to the looting of the VBS Mutual Bank that collapsed in 2018. 

Duarte made the comments to News24 last week, while defending the party's disciplinary committees' rights to perform their duties as per usual. This was on the back of comments by Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance MEC Xolile Nqatha that they should ease up, as some members battled the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's not correct for the integrity commission of the ANC not to give a hearing to the two people in the report. Many people in Limpopo had suffered, but it’s impossible to move ahead unless you do things correctly," she said.

Duarte's comments that all party structures in the province had welcomed Msiza and Radzilani's return comes on the back of the ANC veterans and VBS shareholders rejecting the decision. 

She said: 

At the moment, these two people had not been charged by anyone.

Her comments also come as the ANC's national working committee meets on Monday, with some wanting to bring up the matter, in the hope of dissuading the organisation from not going ahead with the move.

Duarte said the former liberation movement was yet to engage with its alliance partners on the decision, but was intending to hold talks over the matter with the SACP and trade union federation Cosatu - this in spite of the two already refusing to hear out the ANC over this decision.

READ | Limpopo Cosatu rejects ANC invite to discuss reinstatement of VBS-linked leaders

"The NEC took a decision that justice delayed is justice denied. If the state acts, then it acts, but if it doesn’t, it’s because there is no evidence,” said the ANC deputy secretary general.

Duarte again mentioned the role of the integrity commission, which is led by the some of party’s stalwarts and was set up to look into matters or individuals who pose a threat to the ANC’s image and integrity. She said the hope had been that it would have assisted in this matter, but this hadn’t been the case, adding the rules of natural justice did not apply in the handling of this matter.

"Internally, we should not take short cuts."

News24 reported that it was the Limpopo premier and ANC chairperson Stanley Mathabatha who had raised the matter during a virtual sitting of the NEC, arguing that the pair had been in limbo for two years after being implicated in advocate Terry Motau’s report on the widespread looting at VBS, yet no action had been taken against them.

READ HERE| ANC NEC hears fierce debate over VBS linked Limpopo leaders’ reinstatement

George Mashamba, who heads up the integrity committee, told News24 that the NEC had initially agreed with their calls for the two to be suspended in 2018, but had since clearly changed its mind.

"It is the NEC's baby, not ours. Sometimes they accept our recommendations, other times they don't," he told News24.

Refusing to enter "that terrain", he said the committee's role was not to play a judgemental role in the ANC, adding that it could recommend when people should face disciplinary action, but didn't fulfil that task as there were committees set up to deal with that.

"You want us to go on the streets and have a war with the NEC. That won't help. In fact, that would actually bring the ANC into disrepute," he said, when called for a reaction.

Comparing the structure to a "religious minister", Mashamba said theirs was a task which called for patience and not "teeth", as many had been asking for the committee to act.

"Our most fundamental role is to instil value and principles of the movement in the membership, so they act based on their conscious and not out of fear. We also act on those who get out of line, and concern ourselves with the public's attitude toward the ANC," he said.

Mashamba said the final arbiter when it came to the ANC would always be the public.

"It's accountable to its members and the public of South Africa… with us, our Gods are the public and members. We must behave in a way that the public will love us."

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