Source: M&G

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

 15 hours ago Amahle Pillay

The preliminary list of ANC members at regional level who were implicated in misdeeds, which was handed to the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, provides a glimpse into the level of corruption and fraud comrades have been involved in. Though not complete, the list includes six cases of rape and one of sexual harassment, as well as conspiracy to murder, corruption, fraud and arson.

However, the ruling party’s integrity commission has dealt with very few cases thus far, while dozens are still pending at the provincial level. 

The party’s various structures have been compiling their respective lists for the past two months — since its leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the national executive committee (NEC) decided that charged and implicated members should step aside and vacate their posts.  

With about 6 300 ANC member deployees in national, provincial and local government structures, and at every level of government, the decision has serious implications for the ruling party.

Many of the individuals on the preliminary list still hold seats in their respective communities, and in the party. For instance, last year Wendy Nelson from the North West Province was arrested. The ANC’s interim provincial committee (IPC) submitted a report to the national integrity commission around September 2019 and “the province awaits the feedback to date”.

The list of more than 70 names — mostly councillors, mayors, and provincial level members of the party — does not include KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. 

KwaZulu-Natal is understood to have initiated integrity commission hearings against 12 people, mainly councillors, but is understood to still be compiling a final list based on lists put together by its 11 regions. It is not clear at this stage whether an updated, consolidated list has been presented to the national executive committee or the party’s top six.

Mpumalanga ANC acting chair Mandla Ndlovu said the province was still consolidating its list for submission to the NEC as “we do not want to leave out even a single person.”

Ndlovu said the province had suspended the provincial executive committee (PEC) member arrested for rape last month and had decided that, going forward, any person who was arrested should step aside.

“We have already instructed one PEC member to recuse himself. Our understanding is that there is a decision and we have to implement it. We are starting to implement and we are still going to implement,” he said.

Based on the preliminary lists, the North West Province has put forward about 30 names, which includes members who have committed statutory rape, 15 cases of corruption and fraud, as well as arson and assault. 

Despite being arrested and charged for raping a child, Pakiso Mqikela is still a councillor in the province. According to the North West report, Mqikela was arrested in May and appeared at the Klerksdorp magistrate’s court. He is currently out on bail of R2 000. 

“My criminal matter is still sub judice and before the courts. As you know, the law states that I am innocent until proven guilty. I am unable to comment further on these allegations,” Mqikela asserted. 

“If you want to know anything about this case [or why I am still a councillor], you will have to speak to my lawyer for a comment,” he added, but declined to provide his lawyer’s contact details. 

However, Kenny Morolong, spokesperson for the North West IPC, emphasised that the structure would adhere to the national ANC’s directive of removing leaders and deployees who have clouds over their heads. 

“At an appropriate time, the IPC will be provided with a report on the list of the comrades who are facing serious allegations, the nature of these allegations and the recommendations. The IPC will act on those allegations,” Morolong said. 

A Matatiele local municipality councillor who was arrested for rape still holds a senior position in the municipality as chair of its municipal public accounts committee in council. 

Sibongiseni Baba is still paid his full council salary while attending his case. The report from the provincial ANC acknowledged that it had not disciplined the councillor. 

“The council never took up the matter on its own internal investigation and never acted. The PEC recommends that he be recalled from extra deployment [and] must be subjected to internal ANC processes, and the MEC for Cogta [cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Xolile Nqatha] follow up on these cases in Matatiele,” the report stated. 

The ANC spokesperson in the region, Vido Mhlelembane, said that Baba is still getting paid his full salary despite him not “performing any council duties.”

Another councillor allegedly abused his mother and family. Though the councillor was cleared, he was instructed by the provincial officials to undergo an anger management programme.

The Free State, where ousted Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli was arrested last month over the looting of a 2014 asbestos contract, in its August report restricted itself only to the province’s Covid-19 expenditure.

Its report, submitted by provincial secretary Paseka Nompondo, found that the Covid-19 spend of provincial treasury and the municipalities had all been in order and that allegations of looting of food parcels by councillors, and of overpayment to suppliers, were not factual.

No mention was made of the criminal cases against Mlamleli and other ANC members, which are currently ongoing.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the province had filed two reports to Luthuli House. One dealt with the Covid-19 procurement-related issues and the other contained the names of all of those who were facing criminal charges.

“We have completed a list of all comrades who are facing criminal investigations and sent it to Luthuli House. The Covid-19 list is something else, dealing with the procurement related issues in the province,” Meeko said. The ANC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.