Why Steenhuisen isn’t convinced by Ramaphosa’s rhetoric

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Veli Nhlapo

The interim DA leader said he would be compiling a list of each and every ANC member and public servant facing allegations of corruption in the coming week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa must lay charges of corruption against his own party members and suspend them immediately, and not allow the ANC’s Integrity Commission to dish out a warning and a reward package.

That was DA leader John Steenhuisen’s response to a letter written by Ramaphosa to all ANC members in which he scolded members over accusations of corruption.

Steenhuisen was not impressed by the lengthy seven page letter, saying that not once in it, was there any mention of the independent, decisive, and urgent investigation and prosecution of party or Cabinet members, as part of the president’s so-called “turning point in our fight against corruption”.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa told party members that the ANC was “accused number one” for corruption and warned those who wanted to use the party as a gateway to power, to leave the ANC.

Steenhuisen said: “This letter is word salad when President Ramaphosa has demonstrated, most recently, that corrupt cadres continue to be rewarded within his party, and not removed from their positions and punished in accordance with the law of the country.”

Steenhuisen ripped into Ramaphosa, calling him paralysed. “He remains a spectator to his own party, whose corruption has rotted the organisation so deeply, and so insidiously, that it cannot be effectively rooted out without the ANC’s complete self-implosion.”

List

The interim DA leader said he would be compiling a list of each and every ANC member and public servant facing allegations of corruption in the coming week.

He said the list would be submitted to Ramaphosa and which the DA would track very closely to see how serious the president was in the fight against his party’s corruption.

In the letter, Ramaphosa said the recent reports of corruption, caused the party to collectively dip its heads in shame.

But Steenhuisen was not convinced by the president’s claim that the party dipped its head in shame over corruption.

“When the ANC says it ‘dips its head in shame’ over corrupt members, it is really burying its head in the sand and hoping that South Africa will forget what it has done,” said Steenhuisen, adding: We have not forgotten how your party and its members continue to ravage our country, President Ramaphosa, and we are tired of your dithering and hesitance. Suspend and prosecute your cadres as promised. Anything less is merely more talk and less action from a spectator president. President Ramaphosa, corrupt cadres must be jailed, not given a harsher slap on the wrist.”

Steenhuisen said another example that the ANC rewarded corrupt members was demonstrated by the swearing in of former Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede into the provincial legislature.

Gumede was removed from her mayoral position last year in the face of a litany of tender corruption charges to the value of R400 million. She would be earning R1.1 million a year in her new position.

Steenhuisen said similarly, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, faced no consequences following the alleged awarding of Covid-19 supply procurement tenders to his two sons, Tshepiso and Thato, to the value of R2.7 million.

He said this further demonstrated that the ANC’s Integrity Commission was toothless.

“Strengthening it, as President Ramaphosa mentions in his letter, will mean that corrupt cadres will merely receive a harsher slap on the wrist instead of being investigated, prosecuted, and jailed, which is a long-overdue outcome for so many members of the ANC and its governments,” said Steenhuisen.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached at time of writing on Sunday. His comment would be added once received.

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