News / Opinion / Columns

Martin Williams
3 minute read
24 Jan 2018
6:37 am

Cyril gets a house of cadres

Martin Williams

The only way to rid the ANC of corruption is to destroy the organisation, because patronage and cadre deployment hold it together.

Don’t be blinded by the Cyril Ramaphosa effect. Corruption remains at the core of the ANC.

Amid the euphoria, an expectation is developing that once President Jacob Zuma and friends are removed, everything will be rosy.

Indeed, the energy unleashed is undeniable.

The rand is firmer, markets and ratings agencies are impressed, and there’s a whiff of optimism. Good, that’s better than the gloom which Zuma induced.

But keep your eyes open. Even if every Zupta is busted, which is unlikely, that still leaves thousands of deployed cadres milking the system.

Unravelling state capture will be a huge project, which has scarcely begun.

Yet state capture does not start and end with the Zuptas.

The established ANC practice of cadre deployment, a form of state capture, created a breeding ground for corruption.

At the ANC’s national conference in 1997, the party noted “the need to deploy cadres to various organs of the state, including the public service and other centres of power in society”.

Whether people were qualified, experienced or fit-for-purpose was secondary, as long as they were cadres.

That has not changed.

Every layer of government – municipal, provincial and national – is infested with cadres.

So too are state-owned enterprises. Each year, the auditor-general reports a litany of qualified and disclaimed municipal audits, testimony to the low quality and probity of deployed cadres.

ANC rivals for the position of councillor kill each other for a job seen by the corrupt as a path to riches.

In Johannesburg, mayor Herman Mashaba’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services has uncovered more than R16 billion in corruption.

There’s more to come.

A similar pattern of cadre enrichment is repeated in ANC administrations across the country. Not all can be linked to Zupta state capture.

It’s just a cadre way of life.

Because of the deployment policy, corruption is a problem in the SA Police Service and the entire public service, including education. In August last year, Corruption Watch found the highest levels of corruption were reported in schools (9.9% of the total) followed by Saps (7.6%).

Deployed cadre Jackie Selebi, when he was national police commissioner, boasted that drug syndicate kingpin Glenn Agliotti was his friend “finish and klaar”.

Thus Saps corruption was advertised from the top.

Since Selebi’s 2010 bribery conviction, not one national commissioner has completed a full term. Dark clouds stalked all.

None of this suggests that everyone in the ANC is corrupt, but the culture of entitlement (“our time to feed”) which accompanies cadre deployment has encouraged corruption in every sphere where the party has sought influence.

Another example is the so-called Progressive Business Forum, run by old-style Nats at ANC conferences.

Its cash-for-influence philosophy is inherently corrupt.

And the doubts surrounding most of the ANC’s new top six were listed in a previous column (December 20). Not all that stench is Zupta-linked.

The only way to rid the ANC of corruption is to destroy the organisation, because patronage and cadre deployment hold it together. Without corruption, the modern ANC would not exist.

Getting rid of the Zuptas is one thing. Removing corruption would collapse the house of cadres.

Martin Williams.

Martin Williams.

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