A standoff has developed between the ANC factions in several provinces over the decision of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to cleanse it of leaders facing corruption charges. This has seeped into the NEC as well, with some members even considering legal action if they are targeted.
One senior ANC member said the lists were a mistake, because the decision was taken too hastily. “There is corruption to target individuals, and there is that which is real and affecting ordinary South Africans. The NEC made this decision thinking that proper processes would be followed. Let me tell you; there are no processes … This thing is being done to target certain individuals,” said the party member. “The ANC must go back to the drawing board and figure out what they wanted to achieve.”
It is not all doom and gloom for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan, with at least the Eastern Cape taking up the baton to rid the party of those charged with malfeasance.
This week a tripartite alliance political council meeting was held that backed the NEC’s decision that those convicted of corruption should be removed from office. The meeting, attended by the leadership of the ANC, South African Communist Party, trade union federation Cosatu and the South African National Civic Organisation in the province, agreed to lead a campaign for consequence management for all of those found guilty of wrongdoing. Those who were charged should step aside until their cases were concluded.
However, in other provinces, a stand-off has developed.
The provincial executive committee (PEC) extended the suspension of health MEC Bandile Masuku and former presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko by two weeks to allow further representations after it chose not to implement recommendations from its provincial integrity committee that they vacate party and state posts. This despite the suspension of a second senior health department official involved in the procurement scandal, deputy supply chain chief Vusi Mokoena, this week.
Provincial secretary Jacob Khawe confirmed the deferral of a decision on Diko and Masuku, denying that Diko had refused to co-operate with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the R1.9-billion personal protective equipment deal with the Gauteng health department secured by her husband’s company.
An ANC source in the province said that nine members of the province’s PEC had backed extending the suspension and holding back on action against the pair. “They still have support in the PEC. There were nine people on the PEC backing them, so they were able to mount some kind of fight back,” the source said.
An NEC member said that it was unfair to ask Masuku to step aside indefinitely. “How long is Bandile going to step aside? You know very well how long those investigations take. So during this whole time, he must not hold office while the SIU drags its feet as we know it does. This whole thing is factional,” said the NEC member.
The provincial leadership has been hit by a flurry of appeals and threats of legal action after the mayors, speakers and deputy mayors of five municipalities who were recalled by the ANC refused to heed the instruction. Several other municipalities in the province are under the microscope, with their leadership troikas facing a recall by the ANC after the weekend’s NEC lekgotla.
Last week, a meeting was held between ANC officials, administrators and senior provincial cabinet members. A cabinet reshuffle was confirmed and is likely to happen in the next few weeks. Sources confirmed that the lists would affect who is axed and who stays on.
However, in the municipalities, the fightback has already started.
The mayor of the Dr Ruth Mompati district municipality Boitumelo Mahlangu, and Daniel Buthelezi, the mayor of Ditsobotla local municipality, have both appealed against their removal from office.
The Mahikeng municipality has also appealed to Magashule’s office against the removal of its troika, while lawyers acting for the three recalled officials have served notice of their intention to contest the matter in court.
ANC North West spokesperson Kenny Morolong said the interim provincial working committee had met on Monday and was “immensely perturbed” by the conduct of the deployees who had refused to resign.