The committee can be used as a tool to purge and fight factional battles. But do these loopholes render the entire committee without use? Mcebo Dlamini writes.
Is there even a soul to save? The ANC has been going through an unprecedented degeneration in the recent years that made one doubt whether there was even a possibility of redemption.
What was once the largest and perhaps most important vehicle for social change in our society seemed to be beyond repair.
The ship seemed to be sinking, many things piled up: poor policies, nepotism, corruption, patronage, lack of organizational discipline.
All these things contributed to the apparent collapse of a giant and something had to be done about this. This led to the adoption of a resolution to form an integrity commission.
This structure has the responsibility of protecting the integrity of the ANC. Many years after the formation of this structure one questions its efficacy seeing that so many continue to taint the integrity of the movement with impunity.
Does this structure have any potential at all or is it just a toy gun to give semblance of commitment to the struggle against corruption?
This committee recently summoned President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Secretary-General Ace Magashule for acts and utterances that go against the anti-corruption fight waged by the ANC.
This sparked debate regarding the powers that the committee has. What seemed to be the source of controversy is the decision that any official of the ANC found to be charged with corruption must step aside.
This seems like a sure way to combat corruption but where there is power there is potential for abuse of power and this is something that we ought to watch carefully.
In a country where there is a history of manipulation of prosecutorial processes, this decision is vulnerable to abuse. It might be used by members of the ANC to settle scores mainly because it states that those who are charged should step aside regardless of whether they have been found guilty or not.
The committee can be used as a tool to purge and fight factional battles. But do these loopholes render the entire committee without use?
The committee is a demonstration of the ANC’s willingness to deal with the growing scourge of corruption especially amongst its own members.
Where we are dealing with conditions of abnormality then it is permissible to take stringent measures. It cannot be that the organization continues to operate under ‘innocent until proven guilty’ considering how long criminal and civil process might take.
If this principle is adopted then it means that the organization might harbour criminals for years, simply because they have not been found guilty.
The criminal burden of proof that requires beyond a reasonable doubt falls short in protecting the integrity of the ANC.
Remember that not only criminal acts are capable of bringing the party’s integrity under strain. There are cases that fall outside of the category of criminal that the ANC ought to deal with decisively to protect its image.
Here it is commendable that the ANC has summoned two of the most important officials of the party to appear before the committee.
It suggests that there is no one who is above it and that they are indeed responding to the numerous outcries regarding corruption in the country.
The integrity commission must not only be a structure that does lip service to the urgent need of reclaiming the dignity of the ANC.
It must not only present itself as a structure that seeks to pursue justice but must in actual fact pursue justice.
This will be seen not only by people being called to appear before the committee but through people being sanctioned. This is to say we must see people being called to step aside.
It is true that the integrity committee is open to being misused, but it cannot be denied that it remains one of the few ways that the ANC has demonstrated that it wants to deal with the problem of corruption and retain the dignity of the party.