How Ramaphosa’s ANC promises to clean up corruption

The ANC has published its 54th National Conference Report and Resolutions document, which details all the policies the party has adopted in the past year, and how it plans to execute them.

One of the primary concerns raised within the ANC in more recent times has to do with corruption. The party has gone from referring to “narratives” and “perceptions” of corruption among its ranks, to full addressing the problem, and expressing worry that it is destroying the party from the inside out.

It was listed as the first of five main challenges seen facing the ANC, and carried several resolutions, which the party under the leadership of president Cyril Ramaphosa aims to use to root it out.

According to the report, the biggest challenges the party currently faces are:

  • A loss of confidence in the party due to corruption, abuse of state power and put its own interests ahead of the people of South Africa
  • A loss of integrity in leadership due to factionalism, conflict, and competition to control the state
  • A lack of planning and coordination implementing policy goals – and a lack of accountability for them
  • The party’s internal battles – which are now more about factional fights and vote buying; and
  • A loss of trust within the party due to fights – even violence – against each other.

While sentiment around the ruling party and the South African government has changed to more positive territory since president Cyril Ramaphosa was elected in February 2018, analysts have been quick to note that his ascension to the top-office was not a silver bullet for the country’s, or the ANC’s ills.

The party still remains fairly divided, with many of former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters still pushing back – particularly against charges of corruption which will now be pursued against him – while many are still to be held to account for their role in state capture.

Analysts – including economists, ratings agencies and investors – have expressed concern over how much power Ramaphosa ultimately wields to make the needed changes to undo the damage done over the past decade, but have generally given the ANC’s new leadership the benefit of the doubt.

Fighting corruption

Much of the ANC’s concerns – both in terms of party introspection, as well as its prospects for a great victory in the 2019 elections – hinge on the issue of corruption within the party.

According to the conference report, the ANC is fully aware of the how far the rot of corruption has spread, saying that corrupt practices have robbed the people of South Africa of billions of rands that could have been used to their benefit.

“At times we do things that are not according to ANC or government policy, or not legal or constitutional, and wait for courts to correct our actions,” the party said, adding that it had hit a point where its own structures were at the point of losing all credibility in society – and power in government.

To combat this, the party resolved to take four major actions:

  • Demand that every cadre accused of, or reported to be involved in, corrupt practices accounts to the Integrity Committee immediately or faces Disciplinary Committee processes;
  • Summarily suspend people who fail to give an acceptable explanation or to voluntarily step down, while they face disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures;
  • Publicly disassociate itself from anyone – whether business donor, supporter or member – accused of corruption or reported to be involved in corruption;
  • Have all ANC members and structures cooperate with the law-enforcement agencies to criminally prosecute anyone guilty of corruption.

Among these resolutions, the ANC also directed itself back to core ideals, specifically looking to strengthen its understanding of its values, ethics and morality. The party said it wants to actively respect the constitution, rather than wait to have to defend those who stray from it, and to hold leaders on all levels to account.

It specified that its deployees to cabinet – particularly in the positions of finance, police and justice – should strengthen their capacity to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.

Read: Zuma caught up in new R1 million bribery claims: report

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How Ramaphosa’s ANC promises to clean up corruption