ANC conference deadlocks on giving more teeth to integrity committee

Fikile Mbalula
Fikile Mbalula

The ANC‘s national conference has ended with a deadlock on the proposal to give more powers to its integrity committee to force leaders to step down if they bring the party into disrepute.

This according to the chairperson of the ANC’s subcommittee on organisational renewal‚ Fikile Mbalula‚ who was briefing media on policy proposals that had been made to renew the ANC.

The ANC national conference has failed to take a resolution on the matter and it has been deferred to the next national general council of the party which is only due to take place in 2020.

Mbalula said while delegates had not reached an agreement on the matter‚ he believed that the integrity commission must have teeth.

“In terms of the powers (the integrity committee must) bite. It must not be an option for a member to appear before integrity commission. (It must be able to call) members and say ‘dear member‚ come here. Why do you have so many girlfriends?’” he said.

Mbalula said the decisions of the integrity commission must be final and binding.

This publication understands that embattled ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader Sihle Zikalala was the first to express his reservations about the proposed constitutional amendments to give the integrity commission more powers.

Sources said Zikalala argued that while they wanted to confront corruption in the ANC‚ the integrity commission could not be allowed to be a law unto itself.

However insiders said he was opposed by delegates from the Eastern Cape who backed the move to make the finding and recommendations of the integrity committee enforceable and binding.

It is understood that delegates from the ANC in the North West argued that the integrity commission must “do its work without fear or favour but it must report to an elected structure”.

They said the integrity commission must not be an unelected structure of the ANC.

Sources in the plenary said a delegate speaking on behalf of the ANC in the Western Cape argued that the they believed that the integrity commission must be given independent powers but they want the conference to resolve that it must be accountable to the NEC.

This was echoed by the Veterans League of the party.

However‚ the delegates from the Free State hit back saying the integrity commission must not have any original powers.

Meanwhile‚ the ANC in the Northern Cape disagreed with the Free State‚ saying that the previous national general council of the ANC had agreed that the integrity commission must be a constitutional structure and that resolution must now be implemented.

After 30 minutes of back and forth discussion about the proposed constitutional amendment‚ Minister Jeff Radebe proposed that they should move on and finalise the matter later on.

Zikalala further pushed that the status quo regarding the integrity commission should remain.

The integrity commission has ruffled feathers in some sections of the ANC after it recommended that some senior ANC members step down because they are facing criminal charges.

The integrity committee reportedly recommended last year that President Jacob Zuma must step down after the Constitutional Court judgment on Nkandla.

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