ANC integrity commission lacks teeth

ANC integrity commission chair George Mashamba behind former president Jacob Zuma.
ANC integrity commission chair George Mashamba behind former president Jacob Zuma.
Image: Gary Horlor

The establishment of the ANC's integrity commission was met with much excitement several years ago.

The party had envisaged that the commission would bite and advise on what to do with those who damage the ANC's image by being corrupt, unethical, even if they had not been found guilty by a court.

It was to be chaired by party veterans too old to have any more political ambition.

Since then, there's been just talk and no action about the ANC self-correcting and regaining the trust of the people.

In fact, many would argue little has been done to deal with rogue elements within the party.

For instance, take the case of former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana.

Manana brought the government and the party into disrepute when he admitted to slapping Mandisa Duma during an altercation at Cubana in Fourways, Johannesburg.

Yet the commission's former chairperson and party stalwart Andrew Mlangeni said before action could be taken against Manana the commission had to find out whether the allegations of assault were true or not.

Manana eventually fell on his sword and resigned both as deputy minister and MP, and no action was taken against him.

He is not the only one. Earlier this year, it emerged that the integrity commission had also last year asked former president Jacob Zuma to step down amid myriad allegations he faced. Zuma reportedly refused to heed the commissions' advice.

So it was not surprising to hear new chair George Mashamba admit that two senior party members in Limpopo implicated in the VBS scandal - Danny Msiza and Florence Radzilani - had snubbed him and the commission. Instead, Mashamba deferred the decision to the ANC national executive committee on the matter. He can't be faulted as his powers are limited.

If the ANC took its integrity commission seriously, it would have not effectively postponed a constitutional amendment on its powers in last year's conference to the next national general council in mid-2020.

The amendment would have given the commission sharp teeth to bite those who drag the party through the mud.

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