Cosatu hires legal team to observe at state capture inquiry

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Trade union federation Cosatu has hired a legal team to start following the ongoing Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture so that it can lay charges where necessary.

"The time for indecisiveness is over for law enforcement agencies," said Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

He was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday about the outcomes of the federation's three-day central executive committee (CEC) meeting, which took place from Monday to Wednesday.

Ntshalintshali said the CEC was unhappy that there was "no appetite or political will to investigate and prosecute private sector corruption".

"The private sector is also fully responsible for the economic mess the country finds itself in," the general secretary said.

READ: #Budget2019: Cosatu says government failed to 'rise to the occasion'

He said the legal team would most likely give advice on how to deal with the matters arising from the commission and analyse "whether we need to deal with issues, and prospects of prosecution".

"We don't have allies in crime, we don't look at which office you hold, we will not turn a blind eye and if there is evidence tabled that someone had done wrong, we will be laying charges," Ntshalintshali continued.

The alliance

The current state of the ANC, which is the leading component of the tripartite alliance, was also discussed at the CEC.

"We remain bothered by the self-inflicted blows and damage that have weakened the ANC, which only serve to strengthen the adversaries of our revolution."

The governing party recently had to deal with allegations of rape and sexual harassment against its head of the presidency, Zizi Kodwa, and suspended acting national ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Both Kodwa and Mabe have since "stepped aside" to deal with the allegations.

On the other hand, the party's deputy chairperson in Limpopo, Florence Radzilani, and her treasurer, Danny Msiza, have also stepped down to deal with claims of their involvement in the R1.2bn looting of the VBS Mutual Bank.

The federation, however, said that it has taken all factors into consideration, and the CEC have decided to campaign for the ANC for an "overwhelming victory in the upcoming general elections on May 8", Ntshalintshali said.

READ MORE: Cosatu takes march over jobs to Parliament

The CEC commended the National Assembly for adopting the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Amendment Bill on Wednesday.

The bill is aimed at improving governance, transparency and accountability at the PIC.

"This bill is one of the most progressive, anti-corruption and pro-worker one since 1994," Ntshalintshali added.

The federation, however, expressed unhappiness around talks to unbundle Eskom.

"We remain adamant that the unbundling of Eskom can only come with privatisation, as well as loss of jobs in the public sector," Ntshalintshali continued.

He also said that his federation welcomed the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's decision to investigate the awarding of multibillion-rand contracts to renewable energy independent power producers.

"We are still very angry about government signing an agreement with the renewable energy independent power producers. The state must not just review the contracts, but must make sure that Eskom produces its own renewable energy and the independent power producers can compete with it if they so wish."

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