News / Opinion / Columns

Martin Williams
3 minute read
31 Oct 2018
9:09 am

Integrity in the ANC is an oxymoron

Martin Williams

An 'ANC integrity commission' is contradictory in an organisation so riddled with corruption.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma sits in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg on July 27, 2018 for his hearing over 16 corruption charges. He is charged with 16 counts that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering. These charges relate to 783 payments which he allegedly received as a bribe to protect French arms company‚ Thales from an investigation into the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal. The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Phill MAGAKOE

Hands up if you have confidence in the oxymoronic “ANC integrity commission”. An oxymoron combines contradictory terms. “Military intelligence” is an example.

An “ANC integrity commission” is contradictory because an organisation riddled with corruption cannot have a credible integrity commission.

Unless, of course, you adopt the Humpty Dumpty approach to language, where any word “means just what I choose it to mean”.

Indeed, what the ANC means by integrity is a mystery. Conventionally, integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness.

People with integrity do the right thing, even when they know no one is watching (for example on a video clip on an “unhacked” phone).

What can integrity mean in a party that twice elected Jacob Zuma as president, promoted Travelgate MPs, and carried Tony Yengeni shoulder high to prison after his fraud conviction, etc?

In 2018, the ANC is no better, with well-publicised clouds hanging over half of the top six: David Mabuza, Ace Magashule and Jessie Duarte. ANC integrity commission chair George Mashamba’s performance on talk radio 702 yesterday was feeble.

He said the commission investigates only matters referred to it by the party’s national executive committee (NEC). So, it has no mandate to probe Magashule’s alleged involvement in the disappearance of an R8 million Pierneef painting from the Free State premier’s office.

Ironically, it was Magashule who in July announced Mashaba as commission chair. Now the party’s former treasurer and current minister of local government, Zweli Mkhize, faces allegations that he solicited R2 million from VBS Mutual Bank. Will the NEC want him probed?

The NEC seems content to fry smaller fish. ANC Limpopo treasurer-general Danny Msiza and deputy provincial chairperson Florence Radzilani, implicated in the VBS scandal, have been asked to step aside from all leadership positions and party activities.

What about the mayors of 15 municipalities which made illegal VBS deposits? And is stepping aside an adequate response to corruption which robs the poor?

Remember, money diverted to VBS was from cash-strapped municipalities which were supposed to deliver basic services. In addition to the oxymoronic ANC integrity commission, there are other ways in which the party fails to see obvious ironies, such as when the ANC marches against the ANC.

On Friday, the Gauteng ANC will lead a “people’s march” to the Union Buildings, occupied by the ANC. Grievances include e-tolls, the poor state of public transport, fuel price hikes and value added tax (VAT) increases.

All can be laid at the door of the ANC.

On August 31, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said there are no plans to do away with e-tolls. On October 26, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said motorists must cough up.

“If we want a road transport infrastructure that works, we need to pay our tolls … Government remains committed … There’s nothing for mahala”.

E-tolls are ANC policy. An ANC government pushed up VAT. An ANC government burdens motorists with levies added to fuel prices. National and provincial ANC governments are responsible for the state of public transport.

March against yourselves, comrades, in true oxymoronic style.

Martin Williams, DA councillor.









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