SACP must walk the talk on Zokwana

The Hawks are investigating allegations that former president Jacob Zuma accepted a bribe of R1-million from an abalone company in Cape Town.

This is not surprising. The noose around Zuma's neck is tightening because he no longer enjoys the protection of his incumbency.

The fall of Zuma is uncovering skeletons in the closets of other senior officials. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana, who is also the chairman of the SA Communist Party (SACP), and Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini have also been implicated in allegedly taking R300000 bribes from the same company. In recent history, the SACP and Cosatu have been eager crusaders against corruption and its detrimental effects on governance and state capacity to deliver on development.

In particular, the SACP was among the first to decry state capture and the ethical depravity of leaders in government and the ANC, in particular Zuma. It called for Zuma's head, asserting that he was unfit for office.

Now that the SACP is confronted with allegations of corruption in its own ranks, it remains to be seen how it will respond and what actions the party will take against its chairman.

Anything less than calling for his immediate resignation from government and instituting a disciplinary process against him or suspending him from party responsibilities to allow for a thorough investigation of his conduct would be hypocrisy.

The same can be said for Cosatu.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande is on record calling for the ANC to purge itself of corrupt politicians in its ranks.

Responding to news that Zuma would be part of ANC's election team, SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila waxed lyrical about how this would hurt the ANC's electoral prospects. Speaking to SABC, he was unequivocal about how Zuma's reputation as a man who is susceptible to moral and ethical lapses does not reflect well on the ANC.

"We need incorruptible leaders and we can't have that kind of a face representing our value system; that is completely against what we stand for," Mapaila is quoted as saying.

The party surely can't hold the ANC to a standard higher than that which it is willing to uphold.

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