ANC factionalism fueling corruption, says Zamani Saul

ANC Northern Cape provincial chairperson and premier Zamani Saul believes party's factionalism and its inability to deal with corruption are linked.
ANC Northern Cape provincial chairperson and premier Zamani Saul believes party's factionalism and its inability to deal with corruption are linked.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES

Between the toothless integrity commission and factionalism, the ANC, in its current state, is incapable of renewing itself and successfully dealing with corruption, the party's Northern Cape provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said on Sunday.

The party, currently engulfed in a storm of tender scandal related to the Covid-19 personal protective equipment, is too divided and “colonised by factionalism” to deal with corruption.

Saul, who is also Northern Cape premier,  said factionalism fuelled corruption as it relies on stolen money to thrive.

“There is no divided organisation that can fight corruption successfully. With the state of the organisation now, deeply factionalised, squabbling party, there is no likelihood that we can successfully fight corruption because corruption and factionalism, those are twins,” Saul said.

“Factional politics are money politics, that’s what lines factionalism and this money, is money that gets stolen from the state in order to sustain and fuel factional politics from within the party.”

Saul was speaking during a virtual political dialogue by the ANC Gaby Shapiro Branch which looked at the state of the organisation and actions needed for renewal.

With the state of the organisation now, deeply factionalised, squabbling party, there is no likelihood that we can successfully fight corruption because corruption and factionalism, those are twins,

He believes that in its current state, the ANC which is deeply factionalised between two lines – between President Cyril Ramaphosa and a grouping called itself radical economic transformation (RET) believed to be aligned with party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule – has been rendered incapacitated on its renewal rhetoric.

“Do we have the capacity to renew the organisation and if you look at how things are, how factions have colonised the organisation, it seems to me as if the movement as we speak of now does not have the capacity to renew itself,” Saul said.

He said the extent of factionalism rendered the party’s integrity commission a laughing stock.

The commission, led by veteran George Mashamba, has been said to be toothless with Saul saying it was worrying how its recommendations are met with non-ending discussions and debates in the national executive committee (NEC).

He mentioned this weekend’s news reports that there are ANC members who have vowed to defy the NEC's decision that members and leaders who are criminally charged should step aside until their names have been cleared.

“In South Africa we’ve got our integrity commission which is like a skunk of the country, [a] laughing stock, decisions that are taken by the integrity commission becomes subject of inexhaustive discussions in the NEC to an extent of having individual members of the integrity commission insulted by NEC members,” Saul said.

“So, we lack the strategic capabilities to defend ourselves. We can’t discipline our members, we can’t when members engage in any conduct or articulation that undermines the integrity commission of the organisation get them to account for that. There’s no consequence management,” Saul said.

He said the NEC discussions were so polarised that they become a contest of agents – angels and bigots – which were not sober enough to come up with clear measures on how best to address serious issues faced by the organisation.


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