Scorpio

SCORPIO ANALYSIS

Party to the Plunder? Transparency is needed on ANC’s tender-linked fundraising machinery

Party to the Plunder? Transparency is needed on ANC’s tender-linked fundraising machinery
The Prasa Afro 4000 locomotive. (Photo: Supplied) | A Re Yeng bus. (Photo: Supplied) | Maria Gomes. (Photo: Supplied) | Auswell Mashaba. (Photo: AM Consulting Engineers, accessed via Internet Archive) | Illustrative Image: Righard Kapp

Scorpio’s latest investigations raise fresh questions over the ANC’s financial gains from government contracts.

Each year, the state in all its varied parts pays hundreds of billions of rands in taxpayers’ money to thousands upon thousands of private sector contractors.

This is a colossal pot of gold. Evidence that the governing ANC has been helping itself to little nuggets of the bullion has long tainted the party’s fundraising machinery.

Think Chancellor House. The ANC investment vehicle’s ties to government contracts were first revealed in 2006. This was a warning call about the dark arts that seemed to underpin the party’s finances. In subsequent years, the links between the ANC’s fortunes and questionable government contracts were further exposed. The Zondo Commission too heard testimony that proceeds from dodgy tenders had found their way to the ANC’s coffers.

Today, Scorpio reveals in forensic detail how the party banked a R10-million donation on the back of dubious tenders. The very mechanism that moved the funds into the party’s bank account speaks of possible criminal intent. The party couldn’t risk receiving the funds directly from the businessman who’d so richly benefited from the tenders. The donation was instead channelled through a mysterious fundraiser — a likely attempt to conceal the true source of the funds.

A second investigation will detail how a consultancy firm appeared to forward chunks of its tender riches to the ANC. The company’s owner was well within his rights to donate money to any party of his choosing. However, the proximity between inflows from government departments and payments to the governing party make for terrible optics. The atmospherics are further blighted by transfers during the same timeframe to children of prominent political figures.

The transactions we report on this week occurred in a tender ecosystem that is ripe for abuse. The government officials who preside over contracts are almost invariably also ANC members – the much-debated cadre deployment policy has seen to that. We have a right to ask tough questions regarding the status quo. What stops the ANC from exerting pressure on their cadres to ensure contracts are awarded to the “right” companies? And what of the companies that so generously gift cash to the party? What’s to say these donations aren’t a means to secure more contracts?

If this is indeed what has been going on, donations to the ANC may very well constitute alleged criminality. Payments to the party would no longer constitute arm’s-length donations. They’d instead be viewed as illicit gratuities; kickbacks for tenders already in the bag, or bribes for future contracts.

The ANC itself appears all too aware that at least some of its past donations were accompanied by alleged corruption.

In response to our queries, the party said it “acknowledged” evidence presented to the Zondo Commission regarding donations from beneficiaries of government contracts, “including in instances where the awarding of those contracts are alleged to have been unlawful”.

A leaked recording of President Cyril Ramaphosa from a 2022 National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting also comes to mind.

“Each one of us knows that quite a bit of money that is used in campaigns — in bussing people around, in doing all manner of things — is often from state resources and public resources,” Ramaphosa had told his NEC colleagues.

The president later claimed that his comments pertained to the alleged abuse of State Security Agency (SSA) resources, but they seem equally relevant to the diversion of tender cash to the party’s pockets.

The question, then, is not if the ANC had benefited from public expenditure. Instead, we should wonder to what extent its donations hinged on dodgy tenders. What were the practices and strategies at the heart of soliciting funds in this fashion? Crucially, how much of those activities would pass legal muster?

Our latest reporting offers only tiny glimpses into the world of ANC fundraising. It is vital that we somehow secure a fuller account.

The public needs to know whether the governing party had erred only in exceptional cases.

Or was this perhaps the rule?

Was the ANC a party to the wholesale plunder of this country’s public resources? DM

Do you want to share information with us regarding donations to political parties? Let us know here.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Bosman Puren says:

    Excellent investigative journalism. The corruption is everywhere. There is no accountability in SA. It still begs the question: if journalists can expose these kind of corruption and link it with solid facts and evidence, why cant the NPA?

  • Andre Fourie says:

    Not to be Captain Obvious here but can any rational human being truly believe that the ANC is only “occasionally” corrupt? Has the evidence of the past 30 years of plunder not been so overwhelming in its scope, in its detail, that this latest investigation could feasibly be anything but the tip of a very rotten iceberg of corruption?

  • John Brodrick says:

    It is time for us to insist that political parties produce annual audited statements available to the public, detailing every cent of their income and expenditure. Any party that does not receive a clean audit should be barred from participating in any election or by-election until the auditor general is satisfied that its accounts are accurate and complete. We see how parties in the USA are controlled by lobbies; we do not need to go that route. There can be no secrecy in these things. As tax-payers we have not the right, but the duty to know what is being done with our taxes, otherwise we become complicit in the nefarious activities of our politicians.

  • Respect for Truth says:

    The idea that contractors make donations to the ANC in exchange for tenders is quite a benign view of what often happens. That is that prices or quantities are increased without any commensurate increase in work and the fiscus then pays additional funds for no value. These additional funds (paid by the taxpayer and not the contractor) are then the source of the “donations”.

    • Grumpy Old Man says:

      How to turn tax payer money into ANC money. Cadre deployment was (is) central to this but also the manipulation / harvesting of govt related procurement
      The persons involved in this were (are) kicking back to the ANC far less than they were pocketing themselves. I would be very surprised if more than 10% of that which was illegaly procured actually found its way into ANC coffers.
      No guesses why lifestyle audits of Cabinet Ministers (as a starting point) have not been conducted – and why the annual declarations members of parliament make are not properly scrutinized.
      Sorry, went off track, the point that I wanted to make is that ANC Elite made / make far more personally, stealing for the ANC, than the ANC do themselves.

  • Skura Lukashe says:

    I am certain if the ANC can loose power, it will collapse. It is a known factor that, they have been feeding on public trough. It is sad….

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F May 27th 2024 at 14:35
    All intellegent people will certainly have suspected something of this nature with the ANC.
    However I think Scorpions should also fully investigate how the ANC announced last year that all their debts had suddenly been cleared at a time that they had not been able to pay their staff salaries and the sheriff had arrived at their head quarters in Johannesburg with a court order for confiscation of goods. This was very shortly after Naledi Pandor had visited Iran Iran at the time of the start of the Israeli war with terrorists, Hamas. Surely she did not leave Iran empty handed.

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F May 27th 2024 at 15:15

    How about also investigating what the reason for Naledi Pandor’s visit to Iran was last year. We all know that her visit coincided with the precise time that the ANC was up to debt to their ears. They had not paid their staff salaries for many months and there was a court order against them for failure to settle a very old supplier’s account running into millions. In fact the sheriff had arrived at the ANC headquarters with a court order for confiscation of goods but, low and behold ANC suddenly announced that all their debts had been cleared and salaries paid. Coincidence, was it?

  • Bob Fraser says:

    Bob F May 27th 2024 at 16:47

    Tell me, how many times must I commented for anything I write to be accepted and printed. I have today written 4 comments. None accepted.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

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