Pretoria - The ANC said it was “shocked” by the scale of corruption in the state, and has conceded that despite setting up mechanisms to combat graft, “powerful individuals” had managed to loot government coffers.
The governing party has vowed to take a tougher stance on corruption as part of its election campaign, with measures including subjecting public servants and senior politicians to lifestyle audits.
This is contained in a document titled “ANC briefing notes: key ANC policies and government programmes”, prepared for the elections in 2019.
The party held an elections workshop at the weekend in Irene, outside Pretoria. The workshop was tasked with crafting the party’s election manifesto, which will be used to drum up support for the general elections when the party faces its biggest contest since 1994, with good governance and the land issue set to be the main themes for their campaign.
In the document, the ANC admitted that in spite of creating institutions such as the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit, there has been an increase in corruption cases.
“In spite of these efforts, powerful individuals have managed to loot government resources. This goes against every value and principle the ANC fought for.
"The last year has revealed many new cases of corruption, and like all South Africans, we are shocked by the scale of corruption and the allegations of state capture, which we are determined to root out,” the party said.
The ANC said it was determined to root out corruption because it undermined service delivery.
“We will use Parliament, commissions, investigators and the courts to get to the bottom of the problem and deal with the offenders. As the ANC, we will take strong action against any of our leaders guilty of corruption.
“It is unacceptable that parts of the state have been used to serve personal interests," the party stated.
Power utility Eskom, rail company Transnet, arms manufacturer Denel and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) are among a number of state-owned companies that fell prey to the looting spree.
The party is now pushing for the strengthening of the Special Investigation Unit to boost the investigation of corruption in the public service.
“The corruption and state capture inquiries in Parliament in 2017 and 2018 addressed misspending and looting at state-owned companies and departments. In the first few months of 2018, the boards and top management were replaced at Eskom, Transnet, SAA and Prasa to start the clean up.
"Many of the offenders will be prosecuted. Ministers responsible for departments involved were also replaced,” the party noted.
“There are court cases, disciplinary processes or investigations into the conduct of many of those who were meant to protect us from corruption - among them senior prosecutors, police and investigators, Sars, intelligence agencies and politicians,” the ANC said.
As part of its vision for 2030, the ANC aims to improve the capacity of senior managers in government through assessment and ongoing training. It will also subject senior public servants to lifestyle audits.
The party said it was not for sale, and that those who donate to it should not expect tenders in return.
Delivering his keynote address at the workshop, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans were not despondent, as they have seen the swift action taken by the government since he took over.
“They see the work we are doing to end state capture and corruption, and to restore our state-owned enterprise to financial and operational health. Many of our people have become actively involved in the debate on land reform and the measures taken to urgently accelerate land redistribution and drive the agricultural revolution they want to see,” he said.
On land reform, the ANC has admitted that its government had failed to effectively deal with the land question, since it took over the reins of government in 1994, adding that expropriation without compensation would be used to help address dispossession of black people.
The party said instead of paying for land - which was expensive - the state had to help new farmers with financial support, as they often failed and sold their land back to the whites.
“Since 1994 we have implemented a policy of land claims and land reform to reverse the apartheid injustice. There has been very slow progress and the patterns of the past have not really changed. Land has been expensive to buy and we spent more than R50billion on land reform.
"New farmers who have benefited from land claims or land reform find it difficult to farm profitably without access to water rights, loans and technical support,” the party said.
The party has, however, rejected the EFF’s proposition that all land be nationalised, including current land occupations across the country which the red berets have endorsed.
“The ANC wants change but we want most of our land to belong to the people, not the state. We believe in a mix of private land ownership and communal or state ownership, where it makes more sense to go that route,” the ANC added.
It warned that land allocation would soon be dominated by crime syndicates, if illegal land invasions were allowed to continue.