ANC NEC must implement resolutions or risk party's legitimacy, Gungubele warns
The African National Congress (ANC)’s Mondli Gungubele has warned that the national executive committee (NEC) must implement party resolutions calling for members facing corruption charges to step aside or live with the consequences of losing public trust.
JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) should be embarrassed that it even needed to develop a resolution forcing members implicated in serious crimes and corruption to step aside. This is according to national executive committee (NEC) member Mondli Gungubele, who told Eyewitness News on Monday that the NEC had no option but to implement the party’s 2017 elective conference resolutions.
“Our organisation must feel embarrassed that we had to adopt a resolution like this to fight corruption because [in] established democracies, you don’t need this,” observed Gungubele.
The NEC member, in a wide-ranging interview with Eyewitness News, confirmed that he wished to see the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule “stepping aside”, expressing disappointment that Magashule did not do so sooner.
The ANC has been in a protracted battle over ensuring members facing charges step aside, which became more heated when Magashule was charged in November 2020.
While the NEC consistently affirmed the resolution for members to step aside, it failed so far to achieve this at national level.
The ANC’s own integrity committee delivered a report, which was leaked in December, recommending Magashule immediately step aside. It also warned that the NEC must do its job by suspending him should he refuse to do so.
“I thought my SG would be big enough… however, now he said he wants to subject himself to the processes. Fine, but I think that is too low for him. He could have been bigger than that,” said Gungubele.
The former deputy minister of finance seemed to believe that the NEC, which is the highest decision-making body in between conferences in the ANC, was capable of pulling together for the greater good of the country, insisting that the party’s objective was to create a better South Africa and that the structure would work towards ensuring that the former liberation movement was not derailed from its goal.
“If we can't implement those laws then we have no reason to live together as the NEC of the ANC because it means we are a bunch of criminals that are sitting there to delay the programme of our people,” said Gungubele.
He said his personal view was that the NEC at times struggled to move decisively on certain matters because some among them were “held hostage” by corrupt practices.
Gungubele also defended Ramaphosa over his recent clash with the integrity commission, insisting that he believed that the ANC president did not set out to deliberately frustrate the structure led by elders in the party.
Ramaphosa was chastised by the party’s integrity commission chairperson, George Mashamba, over his delayed appearance before the structure led by party elders to explain allegations of buying voting delegates in order to secure his win at the ANC’s watershed 2017 elective conference, which elected him as former president Jacob Zuma’s successor.
The party president delayed that meeting for over 18 months, finally appearing before the commission in November last year, following Mashamba’s report on events leading up to the meeting. Ramaphosa then penned a letter complaining that it was made out to look like he was a delinquent who tried to dodge accounting to the party and raised concerns over not being permitted to invite a lawyer, who is an ANC member in good standing, to the engagement.
Last week, he told journalists in a series of interviews that the integrity commission was right to chastise him, even admitting to being wrong in his approach.
“If the president deliberately makes the work of the integrity commission difficult then he is no different from the problem we are fighting. Having followed the interviews, I hear him saying with hindsight, with a lot of the issues he had been dealing with, he realises that he couldn’t have done what he did… with those delays, and I think I will take his word for it,” said Gungubele.
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He said while it was not a “free lunch” he afforded to the party’s president, he would give him the benefit of the doubt, which would be tested through how Ramaphosa dealt with the integrity commission going forward.
The NEC member also dismissed claims of Ramaphosa’s matters being compared to those of the secretary-general, saying the former was based on hearsay, while the latter was formally charged in a court of law.
“We are not going to deal with the president based on rumours on the street. The secretary-general’s case is official; he is charged before the court and that matter the ANC is ceased with,” he said.
“If the issues of the president are official, let them be tabled in the NEC and see how the ANC will deal with it,” he added.
Meanwhile, the NEC is set to meet this week, with those close to Magashule having been emboldened by former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry, having implicated Ramaphosa in using his political power to benefit Glencore while he was deputy president of the country. He said some of the troubles at the electricity provider should be blamed on the incumbent.
“If they had to be fair, the president is now implicated and he must also go,” one ANC NEC member told Eyewitness News on condition of anonymity. “Are they going to accept that Ramaphosa must step aside?”
The issue of guidelines for stepping aside and the secretary general’s fate are some of the issues that emerged during the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) meeting on Monday, with some NWC members saying these matters were likely to be further discussed on Thursday ahead of the two-day meeting.