ANC integrity committee is just a veil to cover the moral nakedness of the party

VBS Mutual Bank customers queue outside the bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Customers have been demanding to be paid their money after the bank was placed under sequestration. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE
VBS Mutual Bank customers queue outside the bank in Thohoyandou, Limpopo. Customers have been demanding to be paid their money after the bank was placed under sequestration. / ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Integrity is defined as the practice of being honest and showing consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.

To this end, the ANC integrity committee is nothing, but a charade to hoodwink South Africans and maintain the illusion of integrity for the 108-year-old organisation.

The latest test of integrity which the ANC failed spectacularly came recently when the national executive committee (NEC) resolved to reinstate two of their Limpopo leaders who were seriously implicated in the wanton looting which led to the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank.

What depresses the most is that elderly pensioners lost their hard-earned savings during this brazen orgy of depredation.

The former Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza was suspended following the recommendation of the integrity committee after he was fingered to have played a prominent role in the looting of almost R2bn from the VBS bank.

The Motau report detailed how Msiza had used his political influence to convince mayors and municipal managers from at least 10 Limpopo municipalities to invest hundreds of millions of rands in the bank.

Msiza has taken the Motau report on review and tried to self-reinstate after complying with his suspension for five months.

He claimed that since he was never charged in a court of law or faced any internal ANC disciplinary procedures, it was unfair that he be asked to step aside.

In this regard, he seems to have learnt very well from the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule who always invokes the legal maxim of innocent until proven guilty to fob any attempts at accountability for wrongdoing.

For Magashule, it seems comrades can do no wrong until they are proven guilty in a court of law, no matter how serious allegations against them can be.

In the case of Florence Radzilani, the former mayor of the Vhembe district municipality, she is alleged to have pocketed R300,000 in exchange for her district investing R300m in VBS.

Radzilani has also said that allegations levelled against her on the VBS scandal were baseless and that she had lodged a legal suit with the high court for reputational damage and for the "extensive pain" she had suffered as a result of advocate Motau's "unlawful conduct."

In their resolution to reinstate the two, the NEC agreed that both should resume their party responsibilities as they were not facing any charges.

It would seem the recommendation of the integrity committee and the motivations thereof were simply brushed aside.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is said to have suggested during the meeting that the matter be taken for further consultation with the party structures and the alliance.

He is also reported to have argued that the decision to reinstate the two undermined the integrity committee and suggested to wait for the Hawks to complete investigations and that the people whose monies were stolen be consulted before a final decision is made.

The fact that the NEC overruled the president is a stark reminder of the balance of forces within the ANC and punctures the illusion of unity peddled by the likes of David Mabuza and Magashule.

Listening to the chairperson of the integrity committee, George Mashamba, during a radio interview, the only conclusion one can draw is that the integrity committee is just a veil to cover the moral nakedness of the ANC.

His responses when asked about the reinstatement issue served to show the ANC itself neither takes the integrity committee nor South Africans seriously.

Mashamba kept on repeating the mantra that the recommendations of the integrity committee were merely that.

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