“Today the ANC and its leaders are accused of corruption.
“The ANC may not be alone in the dock, but it is accused number one.
“This is the dark reality we have to deal with now.”
This is what Cyril Ramaphosa, president of the ANC, writes in a letter to members in which he reads to them the Levites and pleads with them to be sensitive to people’s concerns about the party’s role in corrupt activities.
Increasing anger has been mounting over the past few weeks as information on the awarding of tenders, especially for Covid-19 equipment, comes to light. NewsLiteSA previously reported that so far about 300 cases of alleged corruption have been investigated.
Many of the contracts were apparently awarded to people with ANC ties or their immediate family and friends.
“I’m sure you are aware that there is a nationwide sense of anger and disillusionment over reports of corruption in our response to the coronavirus pandemic. The anger is understandable and justified. “In the last few weeks, we have heard stories of tenders for personal protective equipment awarded to individuals with ties to ANC leaders and of government officials disregarding the law when tenders are awarded,” Ramaphosa wrote.
“What has caused the greatest anger is that there are companies in the private sector and individuals – including civil servants – who are exploiting a serious medical, social and economic crisis to unjustly enrich themselves.
“This is an unforgivable betrayal of the millions of South Africans who are negatively affected by the effects of Covid-19 and experience daily hunger, hopelessness and unemployment.”
Ramaphosa writes that as part of efforts to tackle corruption, hard work has already been done to improve the integrity and independence of law enforcement agencies and to equip them to fight crime and corruption. New leaders have been appointed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Hawks and the state security agency.
“Despite all these efforts, corruption is still one of our society’s biggest challenges. The progress made in improving the lives of people in the last quarter of a century is being wiped out by corruption and patronage. ”
He writes that the most well-known form of corruption is probably the awarding of tenders and contracts to friends and family and that the success of these people is based on who they know in the public service.
Sometimes jobs are offered to family, friends or acquaintances without proper processes being followed – and even if they are incompetent for the job.
Then, writes Ramaphosa, there are local ANC leaders who have used food parcels for the poor to buy favors from those who rely on them to retain their positions.
“The custom literally takes the food out of the mouths of the poor.”
There is also state capture that exposes worrying levels of corruption, incidents where people have manipulated procurement processes to divert huge sums of money to a network of politicians, government officials and businessmen.
“The effect was devastating. Billions of rands that were to be used to improve public transport or infrastructure for the poor, to provide reliable and affordable electricity, money for emerging black farmers and for the wider development of the country were stolen to fill the pockets of a few criminals. ”
Ramaphosa says several steps must be taken to tackle the corruption. These include those involved in corrupt practices appearing before the ANC’s integrity commission to explain, that investigations are being conducted and alleged corrupts summarily suspended.
“The ANC must also publicly distance itself from anyone, donor, supporter or member, who is accused of or involved in corruption.”
Gumede was charged last year with alleged tender fraud, corruption and racketeering related to a R389 million contract for the removal of solid waste in Durban. She is currently on bail of R50 000 and was placed on special leave by the ANC in August last year.
However, she remained a councilor.
Ramaphosa further says in his letter that ANC leaders must declare their financial interests and lifestyle audits must be done of all ANC leaders and political representatives. A clear policy must also be developed about ANC leaders whose family members want to do business with the state.
In the wider society, Ramaphosa says corruption must be tackled by ensuring transparency and accountability in the awarding of tenders. ŉ Corruption hotline must be set up and ordinary people must be able to report corruption there.
He says law enforcement needs to be further strengthened and protected from political interference. Lifestyle audits of senior government officials and heads of state institutions should also be done.