/ 25 January 2014

ANC to step up fight against corruption, says Mantashe

Listen to the full press conference podcast as the ANC answers questions on the Nkandla controversy.
Listen to the full press conference podcast as the ANC answers questions on the Nkandla controversy.

The ANC will step up the fight against corruption, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Saturday.

"Let me tell you that the ANC is going to be tough on corruption," he told reporters on the sidelines of the national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla in Irene, south of Pretoria."It has always been hard [on corruption]."

Mantashe said the same principle would apply when it came to members elected to go to Parliament and provincial legislatures.

The party will hold its list conference on Monday to decide on who will represent the party in government. ANC branches have nominated their preferred candidates.

Corrupt nominees
But despite the ANC's promise to tackle corruption, the list reportedly included some members who were accused of corruption.

This included ANC Northern Cape chairman John Block, who members nominated for premier, former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe, former chief whip Tony Yengeni and axed Gauteng MEC Humphrey Mmemezi.

Asked about corruption charges levelled against certain members within the party, Mantashe said those convicted did not qualify.

"If you are convicted for 12 months without an option of a fine, you don't qualify to go to Parliament," he said.

He added that there were processes to be followed when people were accused of wrongdoing. He made an example of the public protector reports that fingered people but argued that the report did not disqualify people from going to Parliament.

"You can't force people not to go to Parliament because they are accused. What will happen if that person goes to court and they are acquitted?"

Good work unrecognised
Mantashe said the party had been committed to the fight against corruption for years but the good work it had done was not recognised.

"There are a lot of people who are not acknowledged that have been removed from serious positions," he said.

Every time there was a new allegation the public would hear about of how the ANC was doing nothing to fight corruption, he said.

Mantashe said if the numbers could be known, the public would realise that the party had taken action following accusations of corruption against members.

Disciplinary processes
He explained that as much as disciplinary action should be taken, there were processes which had to be followed.

The party had to allow for those accused to be tried in the courts.

Mantashe said the ANC would not make rash decisions when tackling the issue.

"What we won't do is play to the gallery and just go all over doing a witch-hunt because we want to be seen doing something," he said. – Sapa