Cosatu slams ANC on corruptionTuesday, 26/06/2012 - 16:29
by Carien du Plessis
Cosatu has slammed the ANC for not being “as candid as we would expect” about corruption among its leaders.
It also said ANC members should be careful of supporting leaders in court who have been criminally accused.
Leaders who face serious criminal allegations like corruption, theft, rape or murder, based on credible evidence, should resign until the allegations have been fully investigated, Cosatu said.
The labour federation, which earlier this year established its own anti-corruption unit called Corruption Watch, yesterday published its response to the ANC’s policy discussion documents that will come up for debate at the party’s conference next week.
In its response, Cosatu suggested 13 ways for the ANC to strengthen its organisational renewal discussion document, most of which are about corruption or ways to strengthen accountability of politicians and public servants.
“The paper does not equip us with tools to approach situations when the movement leadership is accused or implicated in criminal and corrupt cases,” the paper said.
“How does the movement address the challenges such as the one where virtually all ANC members in the legislature come out in full support, parading ANC symbols and sacrificing their day’s work, to witness and show support to a comrade who has corruption charges to answer to?”
Recently Finance MEC and fraud accused John Block was re-elected ANC leader in the Northern Cape.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal also reaffirmed its support for legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni and Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyankhulu, who in January appeared in court on charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering with Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi.
Their case is set to continue in October.
Cosatu said if the current situation was allowed to continue, “it gives rise to a dangerous situation in which the movement stands opposed to the majority of our people, who are the most affected by corruption”.
But the ANC’s discussion paper “fails to provide a compass for navigating these tough questions”.
Cosatu also said the review of the ministerial handbook, which outlines the perks ministers are eligible for, must be completed soon. “The process is yet to bear results. This points to the blatant disregard the movement has to its own resolutions and commitments.”
Cosatu also said public representatives can’t be politicians and businesspeople at the same time – they have to choose.
“Simply declaring business interests does not eliminate the conflict of interest between serving the people and profit maximisation,” Cosatu said.
The “cooling-off” period for public servants who resign their jobs to go into business should be lengthened from the current one year – which must be enforced better – to five, Cosatu said.
Cosatu also said the ANC should acknowledge the importance of the Cosatu/SACP/ANC alliance and the influence alliance partners had on the party.
“It is not true that the only way to influence the ANC is being on the ANC’s national executive committee,” Cosatu said.
The labour federation praised the ANC for its “candid analysis” but said the party lacked “the political will to implement what we know is politically and morally correct”.
“This has not been a problem of leadership alone, but a problem of both those who lead and those who are led,” Cosatu said.
It also said the ANC needed more than just “more beautiful words”.
The party should realise that it has to change itself first if it wanted to lead the “second transition”.
The second transition is the ANC’s term for economic transformation, which it argues should follow the first transition from 1994 till now, which was a political one.
ANC members are divided over whether this is a good idea, with those opposing a second term for President Jacob Zuma being the most vocal opponents of the “second transition”.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday morning told The New Age’s business breakfast that the term “second transition” wasn’t as important as the idea behind it, which should be discussed thoroughly next week.
This piece originally appeared in City Press on 23 June 2012.