Recently released minutes of the ANC’s deployment committee meetings show how the governing party seemingly predetermined the appointment of judges, Chapter 9 institution heads, and SOE boards, in a manner which the opposition has described as “making a mockery of state appointment processes”.
The ANC’s deployment committee minutes from 2018 to 2021 was made public by the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, chaired by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, just before the first part of state capture report was released on Tuesday.
The minutes come after it emerged at the commission in April last year that the deployment committee did not keep records of its meetings from 2012 to 2017.
At the time, ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa informed the commission that he did not recall minutes being taken during the meetings, when he chaired the committee during his tenure as South Africa’s deputy president.
Ramaphosa also defended the ANC’s policy of deployment of its members into the public service, and argued that the policy is an important part of implementing the ruling party’s mandate.
The minutes – obtained by the Democratic Alliance (DA) following a successful application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act – has revealed discussions regarding vacancies of particular positions at several institutions including the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
According to the minutes from a meeting held on 22 March 2019, the committee preselected the appointment of judges for vacant posts in the judiciary.
The Constitutional Court at the time had two vacant positions, while the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had one.
The committee also seemingly interfered in the appointment the SABC’s board, according to the minutes from March 2019.
Further discussions in the meetings include the appointments of the Rand Water CEO, the South African Post Office (Sapo) board, the Department of Transport, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the Road Accident Fund (RAF), the National Lottery, SANParks and others.
Mockery of the state
The DA has since argued that the minutes show how Ramaphosa chaired a committee that “captured, corrupted and collapsed our state”.
DA MP Leon Schreiber said it was shocking as the minutes indicate that applicants in some cases applied directly to the ANC’s deployment committee, which he described as making “a complete mockery of the state’s own appointment process”.
“Applications for deployment were discussed as a standing item during numerous meetings.
“If it is indeed the case that applicants send their applications and CVs directly to the ANC rather than to the government, it makes a complete mockery of the state’s own appointment process, because it is the ANC that ultimately decides who gets employed,” he said in a statement.
Schreiber said the minutes vindicated the DA’s decades-long battle against cadre deployment.
“They confirm that the ANC has completely usurped the power to appoint officials throughout our state.
“The records also show that the ANC consistently appointed officials on the basis of the deployment committee’s opinions of the candidates, or on the basis of race, gender, or other identity markers, rather than competence,” he said.
Tenders and ANC funding
He used evidence heard at the commission as example, which revealed that Bosasa – who scored government tenders – made donations to the ANC.
“It cannot be that it only gave the ANC ‘clean’ money or that it did not spend ‘dirty’ money on the ANC,” the report stated.
Meanwhile, the ANC welcomed the report, saying it would support the government as it reflects on the findings and work to restore good governance.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the ruling party indicated that it would also “decisively tackle all forms of corruption within the state and across society”.