A history of the David Mabuza debacle with the ANC integrity committee

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.
Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza.
Image: THULANI MBELE

The ANC’s integrity commission has come under the spotlight for its decision to red-flag senior African National Congress leaders including deputy president David Mabuza from representing the party in parliament.

But as Mabuza is set to be cleared and assume the position of deputy president after being sworn in as a member of parliament today‚ it is important to understand the history of this matter.

The move to have the ANC’s integrity commission weigh in on the ANC’s list to parliament was first discussed in a meeting the commission had with the party’s top leadership on the 11 of February 2019.

In the meeting where Ramaphosa and Mabuza were not present‚ the ANC’s top leaders agreed to hand over to the integrity commission a list of then 32 people who have found to have a mark against them.

At the time‚ ANC integrity commission head George Mashamba confirmed that they met with Luthuli House where they wanted clarity on their powers to comment on the party’s lists.

“They said they will give us a list of names but we are still waiting‚” he said.

ANC deputy president David Mabuza was sworn into parliament on May 28 2019. This comes after he postponed his swearing in on May 22 to clear his name with the ANC's integrity committee.

Mashamba said they hoped they would be able to consider each matter properly before the deadline to submit the lists to the IEC.

A week later‚ the matter was discussed at the ANC’ national executive committee meeting - on February 17 - where sources said it was decided that people who have a mark against them should plead their case to the party’s top six who then decide whether they should be referred to the integrity commission.

It appeared that nothing came out of this and ANC secretary general Ace Magashule did not write to those affected by allegations against them calling them to subject themselves to the integrity commission before the ANC list to parliament was finalized.

By mid-March‚ the ANC had submitted its lists of candidates to the Independent Electoral Commission with people implicated in corruption on that list.

Magashule at the time defended the list saying the ANC won’t remove names of individuals from its list of candidates based on allegations.

“What we have done is that we have looked at what the law says‚” Magashule said.

“You are talking about the people who have not been charged with any crime or offence. Why do you want to single out people because they are out there in the media with allegations?"

Subsequent to that‚ Mashamba said the integrity commission can only apply its mind on names sent to them by the ANC.

Eventually‚ Magashule sent the integrity commission a list of 22 names of people flagged for them to decide on.

By mid-April‚ the City Press reported that the ANC’s integrity commission report flagged Mabuza in its report on 22 members who should not represent the ANC in parliament.

Other reports named ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe‚ Nomvula Mokonyane‚ Zizi Kodwa and others.

On April 15‚ the ANC’s top six officials met where they reportedly discussed the report.

Subsequent to that‚ the ANC’s former president Thabo Mbeki weighed in saying the party should adopt the report of the integrity committee.

“If the integrity committee says Thabo Mbeki should not be there‚ remove him because of relevant he is a thief. If the National Executive Committee still keeps me in this position it will have to explain to the population why they are keeping a thief‚” Mbeki said as a means of an example.

“If it disagrees with the integrity committee it will have to explain to (the voter)‚” Mbeki said.

Mashamba said that the commission met on April 26 to discuss issues but was yet to meet the ANC’s top leadership to discuss its recommendations.

In the same week‚ Mabuza reportedly said he was curious to find out how the integrity commission “singled out” the 22 names that were on the list.

Those who were flagged by the list had apparently not seen it and the report was sitting in Magashule’s office.

Last Monday‚ Mabuza raised this matter with the ANC’s top six leadership that he wanted to clear his name first before serving the ANC in parliament. It is understood that he had not yet seen the report by then.

Mabuza was advised against it but a compromise was reached to postpone his swearing-in until the issue with the ANC’s integrity committee is resolved.

Mabuza then requested an urgent meeting with the integrity commission on Friday and was allowed to make his case.

The ANC deputy president was said to have defended himself saying accusations of corruption against him were rumours peddled by his political opponents. A source close to Mabuza said that he also defended himself to allegations of corruption and that he was part of political killings - a rumour that has hung over his head since he was ANC chairperson in Mpumalanga.

But the integrity commission report does not give reasons why Mabuza was flagged and just noted that there were allegations of corruption against him.

The postponement of Mabuza’s swearing-in as an MP as a result of this debacle led to Ramaphosa delaying the announcement of his cabinet.

The pair met on Sunday after Ramaphosa was inaugurated.

The party’s top six later discussed the matter on Monday at a meeting.

The integrity committee was said to have met others who appeared on the list too and are set to finalise their report on Tuesday.

- TMG Digital

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