Politics / 9 October 2013, 11:42am / Lebogang Seale
Johannesburg - Many South Africans are restless and disenchanted with the pace of transformation because the ANC has failed to deal decisively with its many politicians facing corruption charges.
And unless the ANC addresses this scourge urgently, it will lead to the terminal decline of the party, and ultimately render useless its proud history.
So said former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, who did not mince words about the progress South Africa has made in transforming people’s lives nearly 20 years into the new dispensation.
He said while progress had been made in food security, housing, sanitation and developing constitutional rights, the cancers of corruption and non-service delivery were at the heart of the discontent in the country today.
“Many in the ANC have faced charges of corruption and brought the party into disrepute in a devastating and shocking fashion,” Phosa said at the 2013 annual Ahmed Kathrada lecture in Sandton on Tuesday.
Phosa’s statements came as Northern Cape ANC leader John Block is to appear in court on October 28 on fraud, corruption and money laundering charges involving R49 million.
Block, who is also the province’s Finance MEC, is due to appear with the province’s Social Development MEC Alvin Botes, ANC MP Yolanda Botha, three officials from the SA Social Security Services Agency and a businessman.
Last week, former National Youth Development Agency head Andile Lungisa appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on charges of fraud and money laundering.
He and three officials allegedly accepted and shared R2.5m paid by the Arts and Culture Department for a Nelson Mandela Sports Day concert, after they promised that US singer R Kelly would perform at the event.
A cloud still hangs over President Jacob Zuma and his private Nkandla homestead.
“It has never been ANC policy for anyone to steal public money… The bulk of tenders that come out have a name on them. It isn’t helping to root out corruption,” Phosa said.
He said the ANC could avoid this potentially catastrophic consequence, and restore public confidence in the justice system, only if it acted swiftly against corruption.
“If we want to avoid being consigned to the dustbin of history, we must be more decisive, more transparent and totally unforgiving in how we deal with those who steal public money or abuse positions of trust.”
He added that the ANC could no longer “blame the past, apartheid, race and other external factors” for the slow pace of service delivery.
“We’re a deeply unequal society. What it suggests is a case of development gone awry.”