The ruling party has just released its National Assembly list, and there are some names on the list which Corruption Watch followers will have seen on our pages before.
The likes of Dina Pule, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Humphrey Mmemezi are again up for leadership positions, despite the fact that they, and others, have been found unsuitable for public office because of their involvement in unlawful tendering, irregular conduct, conflict of interest, maladministration, and more.
In its 2014 election manifesto, the ANC states emphatically that it intends to:
– “Intensify the fight against corruption in both the public and private sectors through measures to restrict public servants from doing business and holding public officials individually liable for losses arising from corrupt actions. We will pursue action against companies involved in bid rigging, price fixing and corruption in past and current infrastructure build programmes; and
– Require any ANC member or ANC public representative found guilty before a court of law to step down from any leadership positions in the ANC, government and society”.
In addition, a newspaper report in January stated that the ANC’s integrity committee will review the list and recommend names that should be removed from it – we question this commitment to purging the list of unsuitable candidates, in light of the names that remain on it.
If the ANC wants the people of South Africa to believe it is serious about rooting out corruption, it must remove those names from its list and ensure that others, such as the ANC’s Northern Cape leader John Block, who is facing multiple criminal charges ranging from corruption to fraud and money laundering involving R48-million, yet retains his position of leadership, do not make it onto the regional and provincial lists. These have still to be published.
Rewarded for bad behaviour
The disgraced politicians who have made it onto the list are:
- Dina Pule, former communications minister, who was found by public protector Thuli Madonsela in her investigation report titled Unsolicited Donation, to have behaved in an unethical and unlawful way. Pule was also found guilty by Parliament’s Ethics and Members' Interests Committee of violating the Executive Members' Ethics Code, and was made to apologise to the House. She is 70th on the list.
- Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. She, too, was the subject of a public protector investigation titled Docked Vessels, which found that her department had awarded an R800-million tender to Sekunjalo Investments without following the prescribed supply chain management process. Joemat-Pettersson has also not been shy to use the public purse for non-official purposes. She is 37th on the list.
- Humphrey Mmemezi, the big-spending former Gauteng MEC. He used his state-issued credit card to buy a R10 000 painting from McDonalds, and used the same card to splash out on some R60 000 worth of swanky clothes in India. He was also found to have been “economic with the truth” regarding damage, incurred in an accident, to his official car. He is 111th on the list.
- Pule Mabe, who in 2013 was arrested with two others on charges involving theft, fraud and money laundering. The three allegedly solicited funds illegally from social grants agency Sassa, which were then given to companies owned by Mabe and co-accused Surprise Kabedi Ramosa. He appeared in court in February this year, but the case has been postponed to May. He is 53rd on the list.
- Ruth Bhengu, Parliament’s transport portfolio committee chairperson, and one of the guilty parties in the Travelgate scandal. Bhengu admitted to fraud involving R43 000. She was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for three years, and had to pay a R45 000 fine. Bhengu has also been implicated in a potential conflict of interest when, as chairperson of the transport committee, she entered into a deal with the National Taxi Council to supply oil to the taxi industry. She is 46th on the list.
- Bathabile Dlamini, the minister of social development and another Travelgate fraudster. She pleaded guilty to defrauding Parliament of R254 000, received a R120 000 fine – conveniently payable over two years – or five years in prison, and an additional five-year suspended sentence. She is eighth on the list.
- Beauty Dlulane, an ANC MP who served, among others, on the parliamentary Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests. She too was found guilty in the Travelgate saga, having swindled the taxpayer out of R289 000. Dlulane received the same sentence as Dlamini. She is 54th on the list.
- Mnyamezeli Booi, MP and current chairperson of the parliamentary committee on defence and military veterans. He also pleaded guilty in the Travelgate scandal to defrauding the public and received a R50 000 fine or five years in jail, with the luxury of paying back the money in R1 000 instalments. He is 119th on the list.
- Cassel Mathale, former Limpopo premier. On his watch, the province experienced some of the worst textbook scandals in South African history. Mathale resigned in July 2013 after being recalled by the ANC. He is 81st on the list.