Five months after declaring that there was no evidence of state capture in the country, the ANC has welcomed the Public Protector report into the matter, saying that it was championing the fight against corruption all along.
In a statement released on Thursday, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that the release of the state capture report provided a solid basis for the country to move forward and clamp down on the matter.
Kodwa said that the ANC has “long considered allegations of state capture as an attack on our democratic architecture and an anti-thesis of the values held dear by the ANC.”
It is for this reason, the spokesperson said, that the ANC established its own mechanism to seek a resolution – referring to the process set up by the party earlier in the year, calling for any officials to step forward with evidence on the matter.
However, at the end of May 2016, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced that there was no evidence of state capture in the country, adding that no one stepped forward.
This despite written and oral submissions made by deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, and former ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor – the same key figures used as a source of evidence in the Public Protector report.
Later reports would reveal that Mantashe was warned of the issue, but reportedly chose to ignore and dismiss all talk of state capture ahead of the 2016 municipal elections, where the party needed to show unity.
Following a major loss for the ANC in the election in August 2016, Mantashe and the ANC did a U-turn on the subject, and suddently reissued the call for debate, and an investigation on the matter.
In its statement on Thursday, the ANC said that it is pleased by the Public Protector’s report, and by civil movements initiated by society at large to combat corruption in government.
“The ANC, for its part, reiterates the decision of the last meeting of the National Executive Committee to introduce lifestyle audits for all leaders of the ANC at all levels of the organisation,” the party said.
“The National Officials of the ANC will also be making declarations of all their interests to the Secretary General.
“These are some of the immediate initiatives the ANC is undertaking as concrete action to expose and root out corruption wherever it rears its head.”
“As the ANC and the country engages with the recommendations of the Public Protector’s report, the ANC calls on all its members to remain uncompromisingly intolerant of corruption and the abuse of state power in any form.”
Following the publishing of the damning report, the ANC said that it still has full confidence in president Jacob Zuma – a central figure, implicated in the document.