LETTER: Slavish fealty and unfettered bribery

by | May 19, 2022 | Chapter 9, General | 0 comments

ANC’s chaotic Eastern Cape provincial conference shows once again that the party is driven by factionalism and corruption

11 MAY 2022 – 13:33

Your editorial reflecting on the “embarrassingly chaotic”  antics at the ANC Eastern Cape provincial congress last weekend refers (“Mr President, we are watching YOU as the clock ticks towards December”, May 11).

The insurrection of July 2021 showed that factionalism festers on in the formations of the ANC. The ANC’s lofty aspirations for unity and renewal have not been achieved mainly because the corrupt in its ranks are still tolerated and enjoy impunity. There is no realistic prospect of stimulating economic activity in SA while corruption is not countered “effectively and efficiently”, as required by the binding findings of our highest court.

The factionalism in the Eastern Cape is reflected in the slavishness of to slates of candidates. The triumphant pro-president faction won about 800 votes, while those on the “radical economic transformation” (RET) faction slate got about 660 votes. It is hard to regard this outcome as free and fair, which is what it should have been.

Consider this: the leader of the RET faction and sometime public works MEC, Babalo Madikizela, tried to influence the voting in a novel and illegal way. He urged delegates to accept vote-buying bribes from his opponents but to vote for his slate anyway. He did not conspire in this way in secret, or even incite skulduggery behind closed conference doors. In the full glare of the media, he is reported to have said to the assembled delegates: “They will give you money because they are part of the establishment; they are the ‘haves’. Take the money comrades, but do the right thing. Let’s remain focused, disciplined.”

There are no criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings pending against Madikizela; don’t expect any. The police were in attendance to prevent a repetition of the famous festival of flying chairs, not to arrest those guilty of inciting bribery and corruption. How and why the police agreed to marshal a closed meeting of a private political party is difficult to understand.

Loyal and principled voters of probity and integrity, those who show fealty to the values of the old ANC, ought not to have cast votes in favour of such a bare-faced charlatan and his slate. Yet a sizeable minority did so. How many of them accepted bribes from the majority in their supposedly “focused, disciplined” effort to get Madikizela and his slate elected is not clear; what is clear is that the election was tainted by his urgings. His outrageous suggestion should have turned all delegates against him and his slate.

Paul Hoffman, SC, Director, Accountability Now

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