As I am writing this article, I quote the late communist party leader Chris Hani, “What I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists who drive around in Mercedes Benzes and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches.”
Was the leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP) fears justifiable if we can now witness what is currently happening around the country? This is especially true when you look at the squatter camps’ mushrooming, debilitating infrastructure, high levels of corruption, increasing government debt, and while our leaders are removed from the ordinary members and staying in those lofty suburbs. Therefore, Covid-19 corruption has exposed these inadequacies and, thus, the need to curb this incapacitating corruption.
Therefore, the current President of the ANC and the country has raised the need to stop the rot and tainted members to excuse themselves up until they clear their names. In my view, this letter by the current President of the ANC was a response to the rising corruption levels in the country. It was also welcoming to hear the President addresses the ANC members about the dangers of this crime.
It was after this letter that the former President wrote a reply letter. The former President raised a lot of essential points to be considered in line with the ANC resolution. Despite the need to address all those points raised by the former President, corruption, as it stands, is the critical problem that needs to be sorted in this current hour within our government and business, not forgetting the other points raised. We all know that the ANC is a broad church, so we cannot exclude the presence of fraudsters. In my view, contrary to what the former President has said, I don’t think members with a clear conscious will find the President letter as an attack on their integrity.
The late communist party leader Chris Hani once said in another quote, “We need to create the pathways to give hope to our youth so that they can have the opportunity through education and hard work to escape the trap of poverty.” We need to ask ourselves how our youth will escape the trap of poverty through education if there is no money because of corruption. Recently there has been a challenge for township schools and rural schools’ infrastructure.
Covid-19 has placed corruption at the centre, and it is with this reason that the President had to take a stand, considering the resolutions of the ANC national conference. If the ANC senior members are seen to be doing corrupt activities, most of the time, the general public will see it as the ANC that is corrupt and not the individual member concerned. The tone at the top is essential to stop corruption at all levels. The question remains when you consider the above, is talking about corruption anti-ANC?
If the President or the senior members of the party are involved in corrupt activities, what do you think other party members will do? The practice of corruption will be a necessary concomitant. The President must speak to the party members about bribery as a bad thing that needs to be eradicated, and failure will see members thinking it is a good thing to be corrupt or corrupted.
Is the commission necessary or not? In my view, the commission is needed to uncover all the wrongs that happened. Therefore, the commission will allow us to implement all the necessary mitigating controls to prevent this from happening again. It has been clear from various letters directed at President Ramaphosa; it will not be easy to curb corruption. There will be expected resistance from implicated members; this will be irrespective of seniority within the ANC.
Let us give President Ramaphosa the time and support needed, especially in this challenging in his Presidency of both the ANC and the country.