African National Congress (ANC) Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who is the party’s provincial chair, on Monday spoke out against the killing of municipal officials and urged the governing party to deal decisively with corruption.
Mabuyane was speaking at the party’s Eastern Cape provincial executive committee (PEC) Lekgotla at the East London International Conference Centre in Buffalo City Metro.
The premier lamented the astonishing occurrence of municipal officials being killed, saying a municipal official was killed from one of the districts in the province, Amathole District Municipality.
“It’s a very strange thing, we are trying to find answers,” Mabuyane said, adding that the PEC has committed to “leaving no stone unturned” with regards to dealing with this murder.
Mabuyane told attendees of the lekgotla that he recently received a “sad message” from South Africa’s Ambassador to Spain Thenji Mtintsoa that her relative, “a young man”, has been killed.
“He was killed in front of his wife; killed in front of his children. He was killed for no apparent reason. Clearly it has to do with corruption,” Mabuyane said, adding that another municipal official was buried last weekend, which he said was “similar behaviour”.
The premier said it should not be a crime for persons to occupy positions within municipalities supply chain management units, “it can’t be, it can’t be”.
He said the jobs of municipal officials involve bringing to an end any wrongdoing, however, those who attempted to do so were killed.
This, he said, overburdened the South African Police Service and that it was similar to the “unimaginable” disruption of council proceedings.
Mabuyane questioned how council members who disrupted proceedings were meant to be “honourables”.
“Being called honourable means you are a respectable person, so if we continue like this we are horribles, we are not honourables,” Mabuyane said.
He called for the governing party’s regions to desist from involving themselves on how municipalities are run.
“I know there is an issue of interference and micromanagement,” Mabuyane said.
Mabuyane said the killing of municipal officials was both “painful and tragic” and suggests that the governing party was corrupt.
“And the ANC has never been corrupt,” Mabuyane said, explaining that it is rather a noble party that understands its origins and the reasons for its founding which “cannot just be played down by us”.
“We cannot continue comrades like this. We can no longer afford to be soft or pay lip service to the question of corruption. The sixth administration must be characterised by a robust anti-corruption posture,” Mabuyane said.
The premier said these were difficult times were “satans are turned into angels” and vice versa.
One of the challenges of dealing with corruption is that “we are dealing with the perception of corruption, not real corruption”, Mabuyane said.
He said corrupt people were free and “they are running around” while the party pointed fingers at others for their corruption and failed to acknowledge corruption within its ranks.
Mabuyane urged the ANC to deal with actual corruption because dealing with perceived corruption leads to failed prosecutions.