Cape Town – ANC national executive committee (NEC) member and Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has spoken out against corruption in the ruling party.
In the last few weeks, the ANC has faced a backlash, prompting #CyrilMustFall and #ItwasntZuma hash tags. This follows a Sunday Independent exposé on tenders relating to personal protection equipment (PPE) and ANC cadres.
The scandal exposed how ANC leaders and in particular the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, benefited from a R125 million tender from the Gauteng Department of Health.
Sisulu, one of the ANC's longest-serving NEC members and cabinet ministers, broke her silence in an exclusive interview with Independent Media, voicing serious concerns on the ANC's current challenges, the judicial commision of inquiry into allegations of state capture, and elements of corruption that had “captured” the Department of Water and Sanitation.
"Corruption is toxic and decays the whole body politic, particularly our movement the ANC. It’s unfortunate that some amongst ourselves are just in the ANC to thrive through the corruption," Sisulu said.
Sisulu was the first NEC member to speak out after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's adverse findings against Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign, saying: "if indeed money had bought the election, then the ANC needed to investigate."
The PPE scandal also linked Gauteng MEC of Health Bandile Masuku's wife, Loyiso, who is a close family friend of the Dikos.
"It's a pity that no amount of money can rid this toxicity about this scourge of corruption. What is also worrying is the expensive way of dealing with corruption, like the Zondo Commission, while there is absolutely no guarantee of consequences. The only way is good governance to take our country forward," Sisulu said.
Her department has not been excepted from acts of corruption. Since taking over the department and instituting an anti-corruption task team, 97 officials were found guilty; 16 officials were found not guilty; and 24 officials have resigned.
"Just look at the inherent mess that I am morphing in this department and ask yourself how did this happen. Nevertheless we will prevail, we must prevail, we have to force the culture of good laws, good governance, consequent management, rather than having people at senior positions craving for taxpayers’ money at the expense of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised.
Sisulu didn't want to be drawn into whether some of the findings of the investigations implicated ANC leaders. "During my time, the air will be cleaner and we can breath again," Sisulu said.
While implicated persons are usually hailed before the party's Integrity Commission, a spanner was thrown into the works on Sunday when the commission recommended that Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo should step aside following a dispute with his former lover.
The commission also said it hadn't cleared ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe and Deputy President David Mabuza. The ANC has been mum on actions to be taken on Masondo, Mabuza and Mantashe.