Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Editorial: Stop looting Mlangeni’s legacy

In 2018, ANC stalwart Andrew Mlangeni accepted an honorary doctorate at Rhodes University. He was, at that time, chair of the ANC’s integrity committee. This was a party that he had given so much for, but was now riddled with corruption. 

In his speech, he said: “Some of our political leaders have become absolutely corrupt — they are no longer interested in improving the lives of our people. They are busy lining their pockets with the money that is meant to help the poor people. What a disgrace. They have forgotten that many people died for this democracy that we are enjoying today. The percentage of our unemployed youth is very high, poverty is rampant, and there is no sign of an immediate solution.”

This remains the reality of South Africa, something Mlangeni made it a point to constantly address, repeating that this is not the country he fought for. He and many others sacrificed their freedom, spending decades behind bars fighting apartheid.

Today, too many ANC comrades will send tributes for Mlangeni — applauding him for years of sacrifice, integrity and honour — yet steal from the fiscus and loot what is meant for the poor. 

For instance, this week ANC member Nomvula Mokonyane gave quite a performance at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. “Mama Action” has a career packed with allegations of corruption. Under her watch, the water and sanitation department went bankrupt. People in Giyani still don’t have water. And her interference in the next phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will mean that the Vaal System will run out of water during the next big drought. She shows arrogant disregard for the lives of the people she was meant to serve. 

She denies any wrongdoing. 

At the Zondo commission she launched into an attack on her accusers and then said it was usual for companies to give money and other forms of support to the ANC. These are companies that have done well because they got lucrative state contracts. And, often, these contracts are given without due process. At least she was honest about corruption in government and the ruling party. 

Some of our political leaders have become absolutely corrupt — they are no longer interested in improving the lives of our people. They are busy lining their pockets with the money that is meant to help the poor people. What a disgrace.

Andrew Mlangeni

Last week, our editorial focused on the low level of “consequence management” in the ANC. The party reinstated two officials in Limpopo who were implicated in the looting of VBS Mutual Bank. People lost their life savings, but still the ANC agreed to the argument that they couldn’t be suspended if other corrupt officials remained in their jobs. 

The ANC has and has had no shortage of corrupt officials. It is hard to agree with Mlangeni’s view that only “some” of our political leaders are corrupt. Covid-19 has exposed how widespread corruption tore the heart out of our institutions, from parastatals to hospitals and infrastructure projects. 

But there are indeed good people in the party who keep things going. Mlangeni, we thank you for having been one of them. 

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Bail hearing of alleged crime boss Modack begins in Cape...

The state alleges Modack ‘managed’ illegal operations between October 2019 and September 2020

Pandemic accelerates decline of printed news, but trust in media...

Covid-19 has forced newsrooms to find new business models, but the public has turned to the news more in the last year

Gigaba says it was ‘an unfortunate coincidence’ SOEs were captured...

The former public enterprises minister says he was deliberately removed from state companies' dealings and could not have learned of the looting

SIU freezes R22-million in Digital Vibes accounts

The Special Investigating Unit said it would ask the tribunal to declare the health department’s contract with the company unlawful
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×