‘Deeply embarrassed’ ANC vows to act on Covid graft scandal

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‘Deeply embarrassed’ ANC vows to act on Covid graft scandal

The party says it will look to strengthen its disciplinary processes as well as its integrity commission

Sthembile Cele
Protesters in Johannesburg recently said the ANC government had failed to defend the working class against Covid-19.
Viral surge Protesters in Johannesburg recently said the ANC government had failed to defend the working class against Covid-19.
Image: Gallo Images/Laird Forbes

The ANC NEC has moved to allay fears that the PPE scandal involving its own members will be swept under the rug as has been the case with other investigations into those within its ranks.

A three-day sitting of the party’s highest decision-making structure – the national executive committee – has emerged with orders for its government deployees and its own structures to bring to book those who have been implicated.

The meeting also received input on the work the government has done in the two crucial areas of public transport and the expansion of the social welfare net.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says the party was “deeply embarrassed” by allegations that its own leaders had sought to benefit unlawfully from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drawing from resolutions taken by its 54th national elective conference in 2017, the party says it will now look to strengthen its disciplinary processes as well as its integrity commission.

“Pursuant to the resolution that those accused of corruption and other serious crimes against the people, including those charged in courts, may be expected to step aside from their positions or responsibilities, the national officials be requested immediately to prepare an audited list of cases and submit this list within one month to the NWC and the NEC, with recommendations for action,” it said.

“In executing this task the national officials may call upon the assistance of the integrity commission or any other members who can be called upon to make a contribution.”

The party is also calling for government to urgently establish a permanent multi-disciplinary agency to deal with all cases of white-collar crime, organised crime and corruption.

The party is also calling for the government to “urgently establish a permanent multi-disciplinary agency to deal with all cases of white-collar crime, organised crime and corruption”. Furthermore, the NEC called on all law-enforcement agencies to carry out their duties “without fear, favour or prejudice”.

In acknowledging Covid-19’s devastating impact on the economy, the ANC wants its deployees in government to expedite the finalisation of an economic recovery plan which includes a “massive infrastructure programme, localisation and industrial development in key sectors, including the green economy, and the community works programme.”

The NEC wants development finance institutions to play a greater role in rebuilding the economy.

“Recognising the pressure on the fiscus, the plan proposes a number of different funding models, including increasing public-private partnerships, infrastructure bonds and impact investments through private equity and pension funds.

“The NEC emphasised the role of development and finance institutions such as the IDT [Independent Development Trust], NDA [National Development Agency] and DBSA [Development Bank of Southern Africa]. The plan, which has been agreed to by social partners at Nedlac, is at an advanced stage.

“The ANC structures will continue to engage at all levels with advancing a Covid-19 Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, working with alliance partners, and engaging other sectors of society.”

Taxi industry’s ‘importance’ recognised

NEC member and transport minister Fikile Mbalula also briefed the meeting on the road map for formalising the taxi industry.

“The NEC recognised the importance of the taxi industry, both as an important sector in the South African economy as well as a foundation of our public transport system, transporting over 15 million commuters every day.

“The NEC welcomed the development of a regulatory framework aimed at formalisation of the sector and to ensure the empowerment and participation of local black operators and drivers in the entire value chain of the sector. The department will continue to engage all stakeholders on these issues towards the Indaba.”

Feasibility study into basic income grant

The October deadline bringing an end to the expansion of social grants – which the government used to offset the lack of income during the nationwide lockdown – also led to the NEC to call for its subcommittee to finalise a feasibility study into the basic income grant, which has been piloted through the R350 temporary Covid-19 grant.

“The NEC welcomed the work done to date, and urged the social transformation and economic transformation committees to meet urgently to conclude the feasibility study and to report to the NEC.

“A consultation process will also be continued with social partners including Nedlac to ensure that the engagements also take place within the ambit of the comprehensive social security discussions that have been taking place at Nedlac.”

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