LETTER: ANC in last chance saloon

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Chapter 9, General | 0 comments

The ANC leadership now finds itself in the proverbial “last chance saloon” of this election season, in which corruption has taken centre stage.

Between the Phala Phala couch, Paul Mashatile’s house/lifestyle and the unspeakable former speaker’s wigs, the evidence that the description “the ANC is accused number one” is as accurate now as it was when first uttered by the president. He has failed to renew the ANC apart from getting rid of its former president and secretary-general, both of whom have come back to haunt it at the hustings.

The bill seeking to introduce an investigating directorate against corruption into the fumbling, stumbling National Prosecuting Authority is the best the cabinet can do to point towards institutional renewal. But the new entity won’t cut it: lacking in independence and just as vulnerable to closure as the Scorpions were, there is ample scope for successfully impugning the constitutionality of the bill.

It is at present on the desk of the president awaiting his assent, a duty he must perform “diligently and without delay” unless he doubts the constitutionality of the bill, in which event he is obliged to send it back to the legislature for reconsideration.

As long ago as August 2020 the ANC national executive committee (NEC) called upon cabinet to establish a stand-alone, independent, specialist body to counter corruption and organised crime. The bill does not do so, not by a country mile. The new Anti-Corruption Commission envisaged by the DA does fit the requirements laid down in binding fashion in the Glenister litigation and has wide support in opposition ranks.

Soon the president will either sip the Kool-Aid in the bill or turn away from it to do as both his NEC and the DA demand — drink the elixir of constitutional compliance on countering corruption. If he assents to the bill everyone, down to the humblest voter, will know the ANC-led government is soft on corruption, unwilling to implement binding court orders and in breach of international obligations to establish independent anti-corruption machinery of state.

Kicking the can further down the road is no longer an option, not while the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council is so taciturn and dilatory.

Paul Hoffman
Accountability Now

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