Athol Trollip | ANC has no political will to stop the corruption

ANC flag. File picture
ANC flag. File picture
Image: DispatchLIVE

Having read the recently released report published by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on December 4 2017, I cannot help but feel that state capture and continued looting of the state is facilitated and protected by the very institutions which are supposed to protect it.

In early 2014, it came to light that despite everyone in the country having known for some years that former president Nelson Mandela was coming to the end of his life, nothing was in fact properly planned and budgeted for in the Eastern Cape in the event of his passing.

In fact, the public protector reports that government “planning” had started as early as 2011 and that the head of provincial planning and treasury, Mbina Mthembu, was allegedly involved in that planning.

What transpired subsequent to the passing of Mandela, according to public information and the report of the public protector, speaks to something far removed from proper planning, budgeting and execution that unfolded during the burial of Madiba.

More than five years after the looting of provincial, municipal and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) coffers in the form of unauthorised, fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure, nothing has been done to hold those responsible to account.

The late president must be turning in his grave at the thought of his colleagues using his demise as an opportunity to steal.

This is aptly and sadly described in the public protector’s report wherein she states, “The allegation that the Eastern Cape provincial government improperly diverted funds amounting to R300m that were appropriated to the ECDC for the acceleration of social infrastructure development, to be used for the funeral of President Mandela is substantiated”.

It can be safely said that Mandela had dedicated his life to the acceleration of social infrastructure development for those South Africans who had been disadvantaged and left without such infrastructure due to oppression and designed subjugation.

Yet at his passing, his comrades saw fit to actually subvert the funds budgeted for this very purpose.

What makes the finding and recommendations in the public protector’s report all the more galling is the fact that no material steps have been taken against all those who conceived and participated in this despicable larceny.

In this regard, it should importantly be noted that these findings are not new or recent.

This brings me to the reason why I am outraged by this report and the lack of action by the ANC government.

I was one of the first people to start asking questions about this outrageous looting.

In early 2014 I put formal legislature questions to the premier of the Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle, about how R250,000 had been deposited into his private bank account.

I also raised this question, and others around this looting, in legislature debates and in the media.

These uncomfortable questions were not only altered by legislature staff to shield the premier and his former head of department when he was the MEC for provincial planning and treasury, I was also reprimanded for having the temerity to ask questions around these inconvenient truths.

I was referred to the legislature members’ ethics committee, was found, ironically, guilty of transgressing such ethics and was suspended without salary for a month.

I naturally challenged this outrageous verdict and sanction on the grounds that I had not contravened any ethics and had in fact done what was expected of me as an elected pubic representative: to hold the executive to account.

I was subsequently vindicated when the provincial legislature’s hefty legal team settled out of court, and was made to pay both parties’ costs and to make a public apology to me at the next legislature sitting.

This was duly done, but what remains undone is that there have been no disciplinary or remedial actions taken against all those involved, no one has been required to pay back the money, and no one is accountable for the fruitless and wasteful legal costs.

The public protector’s report is clear about which legislation and applicable regulations have been breached with regard to irregular and unlawful transfer of state money into an individual member of executive government’s account.

The report further exposes irregular and unlawful procurement and payment for services and goods that were either not needed or provided as well as the fact that officials from Treasury, various municipalities and the ECDC failed to distinguish between the financial matters of these institutions, and the interests of the ANC.

These findings by the public protector are proof that “state capture” is not a Zuma aberration or mistake.

It is in fact an engineered strategy that is implemented by all ANC cadres who have been deployed to key positions in ANC-led administrations.

This policy objective of the ANC is carefully laid out in its strategy referred to as the National Democratic Revolution.

This is primarily why nothing is done about those cadres who get caught out for state capture and looting, starting from the former president through premiers such as David Mabuza, Ace Magashule and Supra Mahumaphelo, mayors, heads of state-owned enterprises and the whole spectrum of state employees.

Their attitude is “how can you be expected to act against your own comrades who are dutifully implementing party policies and objectives”.

The answer to this is that they cannot, and this is why this saga and others such as the Bosasa scam take so long to come out of the woodwork.

The only solution to this sordid saga of state capture and plundering of the public purse is to rid SA of this corrupted and contaminated government in the May elections.

The ANC has shown that it cannot and will not self-correct, regardless of who is at the helm.

The ANC has exploited the legacy of Mandela without consequence.

It continues to exploit the nation that Mandela envisioned for all of us.

Athol Trollip is the DA federal chairperson.