DA launches 'Crooked Comrades' campaign

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday launched a “Crooked Comrades” monitor listing the names of African National Congress (ANC) officials found guilty of crimes or misconduct, and called for them to be kicked out of public service.

The monitor contains the names of 16 officials, among them MPs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Angie Molebatsi, who have fraud convictions, and MP and former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who was convicted of stealing a patient’s watch in a hospital in Botswana in the 1970s.

Also on the list are six MPs convicted in the Travelgate scandal, among them parliamentary portfolio committee chairs Ruth Bhengu and Mnyamezeli Booi, as well as disgraced academic Paul Ngobeni, who was recently appointed legal advisor to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Ngobeni was found guilty of misconduct and struck from the roll as a lawyer in the United States.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in 2007 bought his wife flowers with state money, and was forced to repay it.

DA spokesperson James Selfe said the party wanted to force the ANC to rethink its deployment policy as it went against President Jacob Zuma’s stated desire to “create an ethos of accountability”.

“There is clearly a disjunction between those sentiments designed to ensure the right people represent the public’s best interest and political will necessary to make them a reality.”

Selfe said most of those on the DA’s list earned “significant salaries” and together they cost the taxpayer R14-million a year.

He said the party believed if somebody had been found guilty of misappropriating funds that person should not be trusted with public money again.

He conceded that 16 was a relatively “small” number but predicted that the list would grow.

It features two officials who hold prominent jobs in Zuma’s office.

The new chief operating officer in the Presidency, Jessie Duarte, had to resign as Gauteng’s safety and security minister after she was suspected of covering up an accident because she did not have a driver’s licence.

The Presidency’s acting communications chief, former journalist Vusi Mona, fell foul of the Hefer Commission for publishing a story falsely claiming former prosecutions chief Bulelani Ngcuka was an apartheid spy.—Sapa

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