Bloemfontein - The ANC has moved to tackle corruption within its ranks by resolving to set up an integrity commission within three months. The decision was taken at the ANC’s national conference in Mangaung, which closes today.
It would be made up of veteran ANC members whose integrity was “beyond question” and have the power to call any member of the party, however senior, before it, said Gauteng ANC provincial secretary David Makhura. “That body is going to be the custodian of the ANC’s core values,” he said last night.
The watchdog will be modelled on that of China’s ruling Communist Party, which recently identified corruption and incompetence as major problems that posed a risk to its future.
Makhura said the integrity commission could have a huge impact on the political careers of ANC members but was necessary because of behaviour that was harming the image and the standing of the party.
The new commission is part of a set of reforms the ANC is to introduce to improve the quality of its cadres and internal party discipline, in a bid to restore a reputation tarnished by members’ involvement in graft, corruption and other unethical conduct.
Makhura – a rapporteur on one of 15 commissions that discussed the ANC’s organisational renewal and strategy and tactics – said the “overall thrust” of the policy resolutions that emerged had been adopted by delegates in the early hours of this morning.
The newly elected national executive committee (NEC) would draw up the guidelines under which the commission – with national as well as provincial reach – would operate, he said. The outcome of yesterday’s voting for 80 additional members of the NEC is to be announced today.
Makhura said the integrity commission would be both proactive and re-active, acting on reports about the conduct of ANC members, deployed cadres and its public representatives, as well as on complaints lodged by members or officials.
“Issues can be brought about the conduct of a leader of the ANC or an official representative of the ANC who is doing unethical things,” he said.
“It will operate on the basis of essentially trying to ensure that each one of us abides by the code of conduct of ANC, the core values of the ANC, as well as the laws of the land,” he said.
“We really believe the committee is going to help with corruption.”
Rules governing membership and discipline will be published separately as a code of conduct for members.
Makhura said the commission would have technical and some legal capacity to help it to do its work.
Asked about the dangers of it being used as a vehicle to denounce members in internal political squabbles, he said the character of commissioners would prevent this from happening.
He also said the ANC intended educating its membership on the values and principles of the constitution.
“We are entering a new phase. You are going to see decisive action. This is a unique interaction to help the party to rein in its own,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ANC is to meet urgently to decide on the future of its youth league, it was decided yesterday.
This follows a failed bid to get delegates to back a call to have the league’s national leadership, under acting president Ronald Lamola, disbanded.
Lamola stepped in after former youth league president Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC.
The call for the national executive to be disbanded came during one of the commissions debating the ANC’s organisational renewal last night.
Delegates from Mpumalanga raised the matter and, it is understood, were backed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape during heated debate.
When no consensus could be reached, the matter was referred to the plenary session following the commissions.
Delegates resolved that the NEC should intervene urgently.
Political Bureau and Sapa