ANC's cadre deployment policy enabled state capture — Steenhuisen
If it were not for the ANC’s cadre deployment policy, state capture would never have thrived the way it did.
So said DA leader John Steenhuisen who was addressing DA members and journalists as the party launched its documentary on the origins of the ANC’s cadre deployment policy, its impact on governance and its role in state capture.
Steenhuisen said cadre deployment made it easy for the ANC and its people to capture the state.
“I don’t think that state capture would have been possible without cadre deployment, because if you had independent-minded individuals in key institutions, qualified and competent people, I think they would have rebuffed and prevented a lot of those things from taking place.
“State capture was possible because you were able to [place] key people. It’s like a chess board. You can only make your final move if you have positioned all your pieces in the right place to get a checkmate.
“You had to position your pawns on the chess board of cadre deployment and state capture before you could go in and do it.”
The ANC needed someone like Dudu Myeni at SAA “because any competent person who has managed an airline around the world would tell you what they were doing was madness and wrong and that some of the purchases and decision-making there was wrong”.
“You have seen excellent people, sometimes career civil servants being pushed out, shut out, threatened and sometimes with their lives, to exit. I believe state capture was enabled by cadre deployment. It would not have been possible without that,” he said.
The DA is waging a multi-pronged war on this ANC government policy. It has tabled a private members bill — the End Cadre Deployment Bill (formally called the Public Administration Laws General Amendment Bill) — in parliament and has launched a court process to have the policy declared unlawful.
The bill seeks to make it illegal for any person who holds office in a political party to be employed as a professional civil servant and directs the Public Service Commission (PSC) to enforce the requirement that all appointments be based on merit.
It also seeks to criminalise the appointment of a civil servant on the basis of political loyalty rather than demonstrated merit and skill.
The bill seeks to gives teeth to the PSC by granting it the power to take remedial action against officials who ignore its recommendations and bolsters the independence of the PSC by taking away the powers that the minister of public service and administration holds over the commission.
DA MP Leon Schreiber, who sponsored the bill, said the DA was confident the final instalment of the Zondo commission’s report would bolster the DA’s case before the high court for the policy to be declared unlawful.
Ramaphosa was grilled about the ANC’s cadre deployment policy when he appeared before the commission in April 2021.
Ramaphosa, who chaired the deployment committee between 2012 and 2017, claimed the ANC did not appoint people in state entities but merely recommended them. He said the party's deployment committee was not in existence to circumvent processes of government and the state to appoint executives in SOEs.
The DA believes Zondo will find against the ANC in this regard and Ramaphosa, as former chair of the committee, would be implicated.
“This process is a long-haul fight. It’s been three years now to get to this point where we’ve managed to gather the kind of information we need to take the case to court,” Schreiber said.
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