JOHANNESBURG | President Cyril Ramaphosa announced yesterday that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) has approved his motion to have members of the ruling party who are facing charges of corruption step away from their posts until the conclusion of investigations into their misconduct.
President Ramaphosa wrote a letter to the NEC on August 23 and said that the NEC had agreed with the core values he had expressed within it, including the call for the integrity of the ANC to be restored by rooting out corruption aggressively by ensuring that those who are accused are removed from positions of power.
President Ramaphosa provided an update on the outcomes achieved by the NEC during a three-day summit over the weekend, in which gender based violence (GBV), the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and corruption within party ranks were all discussed.
His call for action to be taken to members charged with corruption was agreed with, he said
“Those formally charged with corruption must immediately step aside from all official positions pending finalisation of their cases,” he said. “They must also go to the integrity commission.”
He later clarified that the constitution of the ANC contains precedent for such action to be enforced, and said that he expects all members to “embrace the implementation of such measures”.
“There are disciplinary processes, an integrity committee process, and internal discussions that will play a role in these measures (to remove corruption accused members from office).”
“If a member doesn’t comply, the ANC constitution kicks in and in this era that we are now in, we expect that all members abide by what is set out herein.”
He said that the NEC agreed with his sentiment that the time has come to begin “a new era” of ANC governance that breaks free from the shackles of corruption and moves towards a period of better, more transparent governance.
“When the NEC said that we are drawing a line in the sand, it means we are entering a new era and ensuring that our goals are now implemented,” he said. “I have no doubt in my mind that these visions will be implemented and embraced by all members.”
He added that the office of secretary-general Ace Magashule — who was vocally critical of the president’s suggestion that corruption accused members step aside — will play a critical role in the process of determining the future of such individuals.
Magashule — who himself is indicted in a variety of accusations of corruption during his tenure as Premier of the Free State — was ordered by the NEC to appear before the integrity committee and explain his grievances with such a process.
“The office of the SG plays a critical role, the national working committee and the NEC (are all involved in this process).”
Asked whether suspended members would continue to receive salaries, the President appeared to suggest that there were limitations to what could be done in this regard.
“While suspended, then we need to comply with labour laws and I would argue whether their receiving a salary constitutes them being in a position of influence,” he said.
“Once the matter is finalised we can discuss matters of salaries.”
He said that mere speculation about a person’s alleged wrongdoing may not be enough to warrant them stepping down, but serious allegations that carry weight would be strongly monitored.
“If mere allegations are raised against anyone, then we will assess the situation, but if concrete allegations emerge then they must do the right thing and go to the integrity commission.”
Source | The South African
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