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LETTER: Humility is not good enough; ANC heads should roll

A state-funded flight to Zimbabwe while the rest of SA was under lockdown is a violation of the law

16 September 2020 – 14:20

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The moral compass of ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe was gyrating erratically on Tuesday as he attempted damage control in respect of the many and varied violations of the law that were involved in the state-sponsored junket of ANC bigwigs who flew to visit their Zanu-PF counterparts in Harare, Zimbabwe, while mere mortals remained locked down in SA, dutifully respecting equality before the law.

Saying that the ANC “humbles itself” for these infractions, without apologising to the nation and without holding anyone to account for the multiple infractions involved, won’t wash. Heads should roll, the cabinet should be reshuffled, and those involved in criminal activity should be expelled by the ANC and prosecuted by the state for leaving the country illegally.

The Institute of Race Relations has estimated that more than half the members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) belong in orange overalls, not in the highest decision-making body in Luthuli House. Some are Travelgate fraudsters, others have been fingered in various investigations but have not been brought to justice, and one — Tony Yengeni — did time for fraud connected to the arms deals before he was allowed by the ANC to participate in the junket.

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If the ANC is genuinely prepared to humble itself it should expel those whose lack of moral fibre and ethical integrity impact negatively on the image and reputation of the ANC. It is only in this way that the party will be able to self-correct. It is the duty of the criminal justice administration to ensure that criminal activity is not a major pastime (with impunity) of those who govern and those who lead the ANC.

Prosecuting without fear of the powerful, favour to the friendly and prejudice to the public is what is missing on the side of the state, in part due to the failure of the ANC to capacitate the criminal justice administration properly.

A newly humble NEC could start its contrite trajectory by making public the progress that has been made with the implementation of its urgent resolution to deal with corruption by establishing a new permanent entity for the purpose. Six weeks have passed since the “urgent” resolution was made public; so far no progress regarding its implementation by the cabinet has reached the public domain.

A humbled and worthy spokesperson could prepare a media release about the urgency with which the national cabinet is going about the task the NEC set it at the beginning of August. A failure to do so will swell the ranks of the cynics who doubted the sincerity of the resolution from the day it was announced and will inflame the fury of those who have lost patience with the ANC’s corrupt ways.

Paul Hoffman, SC, Accountability Now

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