Call for fewer words and more action as debate continues over Ramaphosa’s letter to the ANC

Cyril Ramaphosa
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Fewer words and more action seems to be a sentiment shared by politicians and ordinary South Africans in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter to African National Congress (ANC) members. In a seven-page letter to party members, Ramaphosa raised a number of issues and took a hard line on corruption. He conceded that the governing party is deeply implicated in the country’s corruption problem.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says President Ramaphosa must heed his own call and step down from public office until corruption allegations against him are resolved. Party Spokesperson Vuyani Pambo says the letter is nothing but cheap posturing.

“It is therefore hypocritical for Ramaphosa to call for members of the ANC to step aside from public office should they be accused of corruption. Ramaphosa calls for disassociation from anyone accused of corruption by his party yet he stands accused of corruption by a Chapter 9 institution by the form of the Public Protector. He has no moral authority to speak against corruption while he fights tooth and nail to conceal documents which implicates big business and allegedly judges in buying his Presidency.”

Democratic Alliance’s interim leader John Steenhuisen says corrupt ANC members must be jailed, not given a harsher slap on the wrist.

“Not once is there any mention of the independent, decisive, and urgent investigation and prosecution of party or cabinet members as part of his so-called ‘turning point in our fight against corruption’. This letter is nothing more than a word salad when President Ramaphosa has demonstrated, most recently, that corrupt cadres continue to be rewarded within his party, and not removed from their positions and punished in accordance with the law of the country. Simply means that this letter is going to amount to nothing more than words on a piece of paper and will mean that corrupt cadres will receive just a slap on the wrist instead of being investigated, prosecuted and jailed,” says the DA leader.

Political analyst Prof Tinyiko Maluleke says Ramaphosa’s letter has exposed leadership challenges within the governing party.

“You don’t know who or what to listen to, the KZN ANC reinstates Zandile Gumende the same week, the SG writes his own letter, you have portfolio committees that are headed by people facing charges, is this perhaps a letter of the President saying I don’t know what more to do and if he doesn’t know what more to do, how are we supposed to feel as citizens of the country,” says Maluleke.

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Civil rights organisation, Corruption Watch, says a reckoning between the factions within the ANC is what will end corruption.

“We cannot end corruption without the reckoning between the dominant factions of the ANC, the one led by President Ramaphosa that has made some genuine effort to tackle corruption as outlined in his letter, the other led by general secretary Ace Magashule which is doing everything in its power to counter the efforts to end corruption and reinstate the bad old days of the Zuma administration. Without a reckoning of these two factions we will never end corruption because they do not belong in the same organisation together,” says Corruption Watch Executive Director David Lewis.

Meanwhile, the ANC says the letter is in line with the statement from its last NEC meeting on what will be done to stop corruption.

“This is an expression of seriousness through which the ANC is acting on these matters, of course where there are cadres that are charged and appearing in the court of law there is a process internally in the organisation to accord such members and opportunity to make a representation to the relevant structure of the organisation. Officials are compiling reports of all of those cases and at the right time they will be able to brief the National Executive Committee on the sort of action that needs to be undertaken,” says ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe.

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