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ANC NEC discuss issue of family members of government officials doing business with state

Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

The issue of whether family members of those in government can do business with the state was one of the lengthy discussions the ANC national executive committee (NEC) held this weekend.

This is believed to have been a contentious matter in the NEC meeting, with President Cyril Ramaphosa touching on it in his closing remarks on Saturday.

Insiders told Sowetan that Ramaphosa stated that the family members of government officials were also citizens of the country and that the special NEC that will be meet in two weeks must discuss and come out with a decision on this.

“The President closed the meeting by also making a point about families, children, wives, husbands doing business that it must come back to a discussion because everybody is a citizen,” an insider said.

“However, there must something that demonstrates to everybody that this family member is a clean businessman who’s involved in business irrespective of the relationship with the father [who’s in government].”

The insider, who was also part of the NEC meeting, said this was not an easy discussion.

Recently, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko was in a media storm after it was reported that her husband Chief Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko was awarded two tenders to supply personal protective equipment to the Gauteng department of health to a tune of R125m when she was a member of the ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee.

Ramaphosa’s son, Andile, is also reported to have done business with the Gauteng department of health. The sons of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule have also reportedly been awarded government tenders related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Its not an easy matter, so we said we’ll come back and hence we set a special NEC where we have a proper framework. Either there’s a need to improve the regulations on procurement but we must find a way because it would be wrong for us to allow society to impose restriction on our families,” the insider said.

Another source also said the blanketed approach that relatives of those in government were barred from doing government with the state was wrong.

“The law currently says when you are a civil servant, you and your family members can’t do business with government. But it doesn’t apply to Nomvula [Mokonyane] for instance because she’s not in government but it will apply to Gwede [Mantashe],” the insider said.

“If by virtue of being an ANC member you can’t do business with the state then which [family] members must do business? The DA and the EFF? You understand how this thing can be so silly?”.

Sowetan understands that provincial leaders have been tasked with compiling a list of names of all officials accused of corruption especially related to the reported looting of Covid-19 funds and present to the special NEC in two weeks.

These lists will then be discussed at the meeting and decisions on whether those who are facing allegations must step aside or not will also be taken there.

These would involve ministers, mayors, member of executive committees and members of mayoral committees.

“The big debate was the notion of 'step aside'. When you have a case, allegation, and there are pros and cons in such a discussion. Some were discussing law of natural justice, some were discussing political morality,” an insider said.

“So we will come back to that debate in the next two weeks.”

Sowetan was also told of a proposal of establishing a special court to deal with corruption with speedily, especially cases related to Covid-19.

“Covid is such a serious matter and it needs the same speed as it moves itself, Covid moves with speed and all government interventions also moved with speed so they said equally even cases must move with speed.

“So we have said the sub-committee on justice must look at that. Either a special court where you can process these matters easy. If I’m accused this week, at least next month myself and society must have the outcomes so that I’m cleared,” another insider said.​

Image: Stephanie de Sakutin