'We dip our heads in shame' - Ramaphosa reads ANC members the riot act over corruption

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
OJ Koloti, Gallo Images
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that lack of discipline and the ANC's failure to deal with issues have eroded the organisational ethos of the party.
  • In a letter to ANC members, Ramaphosa has reminded members that corruption is robbing the poor of services.
  • He said those who wanted to use the ANC as a gateway to power should leave the party.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC and its leaders stand accused of corruption and, while the party may not be alone in the dock, it does stand as "accused number one".

"This is the stark reality that we must now confront," Ramaphosa said in a letter penned to ANC members on the recent revelations of Covid-19 corruption that has engulfed the nation.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa said the ANC's national executive committee (NEC), at its last meeting at the beginning of the month, had recognised the justifiable public outrage caused by recent reports of corruption.

"It said these developments 'cause us collectively to dip our heads in shame and to humble ourselves before the people'. The NEC recognised that it had a clear mandate from the 54th National Conference to deal decisively with corruption and to restore the integrity and values of the ANC. It said this is a responsibility it cannot defer, outsource or avoid," Ramaphosa said.

This week, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) revealed it is investigating 17 tenders, involving "politically exposed persons" and worth R1.2 billion, connected to alleged Covid-19-related corruption.

READ | 'The MEC wants his people' - This is how Diko scored R120m PPE tender, SIU contends

Ramaphosa said the lack of discipline and the party's failure to deal with the issues within the organisation had eroded organisational ethos and standing.

"Over many years, we have seen corruption in the state, in society and in the ANC take several forms. Perhaps the best-known form of corruption is the award of tenders and other contracts to certain companies based on conflictual relations such as friendships or family connections. For these people, success depends on who you know in the public service. Sometimes those awarding the tenders receive kickbacks from the successful companies.

"Then there are 'jobs for pals', where politicians and officials disregard hiring procedures to employ family members, friends or associates," Ramaphosa said.

Meanwhile, the ANC is set to bring in independent legal minds and forensic experts to advise it on the composition of a report on all its members who have been implicated in dodgy Covid-19 tenders.

City Press reports the decision was taken at the NEC earlier this month and is seen as a bid to protect the party's integrity.

READ HERE | Debt crisis looms as Covid-19 hits Africa

Ramaphosa reminded ANC members that corruption is robbing the poor of services.

"Not only is this grossly unfair to other prospective candidates, but it often means that the people employed are simply not up to the task. Public services are not rendered, public institutions are poorly managed and public funds go to waste.

"As we have seen during the Covid-19 response, there are local ANC leaders who have used food parcels meant for the poor to buy political favours from those people in the branch or broader community who they rely on for their positions. These practices quite literally take food out of the mouths of the poor," he said.

He also said that those who saw the ANC as a "path to wealth, to power, to influence or status" did not belong in the movement.

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