Tlokwe: ANC’s test to fight corruption

The reaction from and steps to be taken by @MyANC_ on what happened this week at the Tlokwe Municipality makes one – and reasonable voters too, who, of course, don’t vote for loyalty but for services – wonder whether the ruling party is serious about fighting corruption even when its members are implicated, directly or otherwise.

Whether the process used to unsit ANC’s Maphetle Maphetle as Mayor of the Tlokwe municipality and replaced by Democratic Alliance’s Annette Combrink was transparent or not is for the court to decide as the ruling party has clearly indicated its intention to challenge the process followed and thereby nullifying Combrink’s election at the time. This is worsened by the fact that 14 of its 16 Councillors allegedly defied the Luthuli Houses (aka ANC National Executive Committee) directive to reappoint Maphetle as a mayor following his removal last year and instead chose to elect Combrink. It appears the Councillors’ frustration followed Luthuli House delegation’s failure to investigate corruption charges against Maphetle.

Maseapei Madiehe-Teme, one of the 14 Councillors, told Sunday Times on 7 July 2013 that the NEC “came here last year [2012] and said they were going to investigate and come back to us in February [2013]”. He said “documents and SMSes” sent by Maphetle were given to the committee but “we haven’t heard from them since”. Following the disciplinary inquiry to deal with the 16 Councillors, only 2 of them pleaded guilty while the rest did not attend the inquiry, resulting in their immediate dismissal from the ruling party. That the ANC was not going to take Maphetle’s removal likely without a fight is expected.

It really is difficult for me or any reasonable person, in my view, or even those 14 Councillors expelled by the ruling party this week, to appoint a person – or even an organisation – who is marred by or accused of corruption and or any serious allegations and that when you don’t you are accused of insubordination (by failing to obey directives from one’s seniors) and thereby accused of bringing your organisation into disrepute. That’s unprincipled, if you ask me, my dearest @MyANC_.

Or maybe this is not surprising considering the appointment of many ANC members to higher decision making bodies and structures of the ruling party – many whom were either found guilty, or admitted guilt and or were convicted of corruption and other serious offenses some of which are against the constitutions of the very organisations they are members of. These include controversial Tony Yengeni, Humphrey Mmemezi, President Jacob Zuma, who were appointed to higher structures of the ruling party – the National Executive Committee – despite their admission of guilt or serious corruption charges (or otherwise) against them. That the Councillors were dealt with for failing to implement the directive of re-electing Maphetle as Tlokwe Mayor, this raises another important issues that has, for years, marred the ruling party: the imposition of leaders by the Luthuli House.

The case of these 14 Councillors further reminds me of that of Moses Phakoe from North West who had submitted a dossier of allegations linking former Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans to corrupt activities in the Rustenburg municipality to senior ANC officials. Sadly, Phakoe was, however, gunned down in March 2009, two days after meeting Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka and handing over a dossier of allegations about office bearers and officials in the Bojanala District Municipality, which includes Rustenburg and Brits, according to Mail & Guardian in 2011.

City Press reported in March last year that testimony and evidence before court indicated that top ANC leaders, including Zuma, were told about the corruption claims prior to Phakoe’s murder.

Phakoe’s confidant and fellow ANC councillor, Alfred Motsi, told the Mahikeng High Court in testimony and in an affidavit how he and Phakoe, armed with an incriminating dossier, embarked on a fruitless mission to get the top ANC leadership to act against Wolmarans. Motsi told the court, according to City Press, that the dossier contained evidence that Wolmarans and other councillors were allegedly involved in fraud and other corruption totalling millions of rands. He said they first presented their evidence to the ANC regional leadership, then the provincial leadership of the North West, but nothing was done.

Motsi further testified that he and Phakoe also met with ANC national executive committee members Billy Masetlha and Siphiwe Nyanda. He said they also delivered evidence to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and to the office of the president, then run by current Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Instead of reporting Wolmarans to the police, the court heard that Zuma and other party leaders decided to deal with the Wolmarans et al corruption claims within the ANC instead. And this seems to be precisely why the ANC ignored allegations against Maphetle by the now expelled councillors.

If the ANC really wants to fight corruption not only in government but within its structures too – the Tlokwe case provides it with that opportunity.

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