Military veteran heading KZN ANC integrity commission not afraid of making the tough decisions

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ANC KwaZulu-Natal integrity commission chairperson Sipho Magwaza has the difficult task of removing corrupt party members from their positions.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal integrity commission chairperson Sipho Magwaza has the difficult task of removing corrupt party members from their positions.
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  • The person in charge of removing corrupt ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal is a former intelligence operative and SANDF member.
  • Sipho Magwaza is the provincial chairperson of the ANC's integrity commission.
  • The integrity commission has come under the spotlight recently, amid allegations of corruption around Covid-19 materials.


The man tasked with the responsibility to remove KwaZulu-Natal ANC members implicated in corruption from their government positions is a former intelligence operative who spent almost two decades in the army.

Sipho Magwaza (66) who grew up in Claremont outside Pinetown, is the provincial chairperson of the ANC integrity commission which has been tasked with the role of holding party members in conflict with the law to account.

The fact that a significant number of KZN ANC members such as former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, who is facing corruption charges, are opposed to the removal of party members could make Magwaza’s task a formidable one.

However, Magwaza, who retired from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) where he served in the military intelligence unit, says he is prepared to deal with any backlash that could come as a result of his work.

He said:

When I accepted the role I was acutely aware that not all party members would be happy about some of the decisions we would have to make.

"I’m not the kind of a person who would spend sleepless nights over such matters. As a commission we have work to do. If I was not comfortable with the job then I would not have accepted it in the first place," he said.

Magwaza, who is the former provincial secretary of the commission, was appointed chairperson in 2016.

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At the time of his appointment few knew about the existence of the commission.

But with the increase in corruption cases against ANC members, particularly around the procurement of Covid-19 items such as PPE, the commission now finds itself under the spotlight.

Charges

Two weeks ago the ANC national executive committee (NEC) resolved that all party members facing criminal charges should submit themselves to the commission.

The NEC also called on all ANC members who have been publicly accused of corruption to also submit themselves to the commission.

Magwaza said the difficult work of summoning ANC members accused of criminal conduct was yet to begin.

He said they were busy compiling a list of party members who they think could be affected by the NEC’s resolutions. "However, having said that, any ANC member who wants to meet the commission and clarify certain issues is free to do so," he said.

While Magwaza speaks softly, those who know him described him as "tough soldier" who will never hesitate to make difficult decisions.

"He is considered a party veteran who played a major role in the launching of ANC branches in eThekwini following the unbanning of the party in the 80s," an ANC activist who has known Magwaza for years, said.

Apart from Gumede, senior provincial party leaders who will have to appear before Magwaza include the ANC provincial deputy chairperson, Mike Mabuyakhulu, who is currently facing criminal charges at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court.

The father of two, who joined the liberation struggle in 1972, is married to Ntsinkie, who is also an ANC activist.

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