The ANC national executive committee (NEC) has reiterated that members who are accused of wrongdoing must appear before the party’s Integrity Commission and voluntarily step down if they give unsatisfactory explanations, if they’re under disciplinary, investigative or prosecutorial procedures – or if they face suspension.
“It is only if we stand united against corruption that we can restore the integrity of our movement,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday evening while reading the party’s annual January 8 statement in a virtual address.
Party factions have been at loggerheads over last year’s NEC’s decision to call on leaders to step aside if they face criminal charges or are required to appear before the Integrity Commission
In December, the body recommended secretary general Ace Magashule step aside after he was charged with corruption but its recommendations are not binding and he said he would only do so if instructed by the NEC, which did not discuss Magashule in its first meeting of 2021 this week.
“The NEC will soon finalise guidelines on the implementation of these resolutions. It is only if we stand united against corruption that we can restore the integrity of our movement,” said Ramaphosa.
“Unity cannot be used to shield those involved in wrongdoing from being held accountable,” he added.
The January 8 statement outlines the party’s priorities for the year and the president listed its goals for 2021: defeating the coronavirus, placing the economy on a path to recovery, pursuing party renewal, and building a better Africa and world.
“While important progress has been made in the renewal and rebuilding of the ANC since the 54th national conference, there is still much to be done. The organisation has been weakened by corruption, resistance to renewal and controversies involving ANC leaders. These problems have widened the social distance between the ANC and the people of our country,” said Ramaphosa.
Looking towards the local government elections, due to take place later in 2021, Ramaphosa said the ANC must take real steps to address problems with service delivery, poverty and inequality, which have been highlighted and entrenched during the coronavirus pandemic and not “be paralysed by the complacency of incumbency”.
“In this the 27th year of democracy the ANC cannot campaign on a platform that simply recounts the glories of the past. Our people now want to hear what the ANC is going to do concretely to improve their lives. They want to see us in action, serving their interests and no other interests.”
He continued: “As we begin our campaigning for this year’s elections, we want to make it very clear: we will not tolerate members of the ANC who are involved in crooked practices like vote-buying, branch list manipulation to secure positions, or extending patronage to get votes. We will not stand for any member of the ANC bringing our organisation into disrepute.”
He called on party members to acknowledge persistent problems such as a lack of service delivery including housing, electricity, water and infrastructure in many parts of the country, and commit to deploying capable cadres, accounting to communities and managing public resources ethically.