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ANC veterans insist Bongo must go

Bongani Bongo in Parliament on December 7 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Calls for him to step aside have grown.
Bongani Bongo in Parliament on December 7 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Calls for him to step aside have grown.
Image: Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lindile Mbontsi

The ANC Veterans League has increased its calls for former state security minister Bongani Bongo to step aside until his corruption case has been finalised.

Sowetan has learnt that the league, led by Snuki Zikalala, raised the matter of Bongo in the ANC national working committee (NWC) yesterday, questioning why the party had not asked him to step aside following recommendations by the party's integrity commission.

Zikalala is said to have questioned ANC's secretary-general (SG) Ace Magashule's insistence on not taking action over the commission's recommendations, which called for Bongo to stand down. The league came close to accusing him of shielding his ally.

Bongo, who chairs parliament's portfolio committee on home affairs, is facing a corruption case after being accused of attempting to bribe the evidence leader of parliament's Eskom inquiry in 2017.

According to sources who attended the NWC, Zikalala said Bongo's stay in office further deepened the public distrust as the ANC appears to be protecting its comrades who were facing criminal charges.

Zikalala is said to have called for the removal of Bongo from any public office.

"He was saying that the integrity commission wrote to the SG's office to say this must be done because according to ANC policy and resolutions of Nasrec, if you are found wanting and you are charged with corruption, you must step down, clear your name and then come back if your name is cleared. If not, then face the consequences," the source said.

"He said it was not about Bongo but that it's about the principles of the ANC and that that's what we said and it's also what we promised society."

The insider said Magashule did not offer any explanation but ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told Zikalala that the party's top six had not received the report yet.

Zikalala is said to have been angered by this as this meant the report had been gathering dust in Magashule's office.

"The chairperson said they as the top six have not received the report, [that] the SG's office has not provided them with the report or tabled it and this matter has been there since December," the insider said.

"We also don't know [Magashule's reasons], yesterday [Monday] he did not give any response as to why the matter was not tabled to the top six."

Another source said Zikalala further invoked the ANC's 2017 Nasrec resolutions, and accused Magashule of "deliberately misinterpreting" them. He is said to have told the NWC that Magashule insists that officials must only step aside once they have been found guilty, which Zikalala insisted was wrong.

Zikalala told the NWC that the veterans league was concerned about the ANC's "trust deficit" in society.

"He told them that when we went to elections, the ANC manifesto stated very clear that we'll strengthen the arm of the integrity commission and that society is waiting to hear from us on whether we are strengthening the arm of the integrity commission and that in the manifesto itself, it's there to say that we will not accept unethical leadership who are involved in corruption, [that] they'll be dealt with, that's what we said to society. That's why society gave us the last term so that we can prove ourselves."

When contacted for comment, Zikalala said he does not speak on internal ANC discussions.

ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte said she did not attend the NWC and could therefore not comment, while the party's spokesperson, Pule Mabe, had not responded to questions at the time of print. Bongo also did not respond to Sowetan's request for comment.

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