Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has called for legislation to allow scrutiny of ministers’ bank accounts to crack down on corruption and state capture.
He was backed by cabinet colleague Blade Nzimande, who said state capture by parasites was threatening democracy.
At an SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) congress in Cape Town, Patel said it was important that the government address the high levels of corruption and proposed lifestyle audits and regulation of party political funding to do this.
If officials appeared to be driving fancy cars and going on expensive holidays, they should be asked: “My dear comrade, where did you get this money?”
Patel said the Finan- cial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica) should be passed so that banks would look carefully at the financial transactions of prominent figures, like cabinet ministers, to make sure they could account for every cent in their bank accounts.
The Fica bill was passed by parliament earlier this year but has yet to be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma.
The bill has raised the ire of many, among them former cabinet spokesman Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manyi’s lobby group, the Progressive Professionals Forum, which views the bill as an invasion of privacy.
Manyi is a strong Zuma supporter and is reported to have been the Gupta family’s choice for director-general in the Department of Mineral Resources.
Nzimande said that the looting of state-owned companies could destroy democracy.
“We must defend institutions that are crucial to our democracy. Our state-owned companies are very important – Transnet, Eskom, and many others, even including the SABC which is being run down by people who have no capacity to run the corporation,” Nzimande said.
He said the ANC was in danger of losing the 2019 election if it did not address issues of factionalism and the country could not allow this to happen.