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State Capture inquiry might crush the ANC unless it reforms

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Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views.

The State Capture inquiry might have dislodged a boulder that could crush the ANC, unless the party clears a path to safety.

Under Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the inquiry is unravelling skeletons and shallow graves of state, government and ANC officials in the former Saxonwold headquarters of the Guptas.

One thing is clear: the ANC will be plastically deformed or crushed as a result of the revelations at the State Capture inquiry, unless there is radical reform.

Nhlanhla Nene, as finance minister, revealed that he had four meetings with the Guptas at Saxonwold. Former security minister David Mahlobo, former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Maite Nkoana Mashabane (the former international affairs minister) pressurised Nene to sign a confidential nuclear agreement with the Russians. After Nene realised it was financially unsustainable for South Africa to proceed with the nuclear deal, he declined to sign further documents and was ostracised and replaced by David Van Rooyen.

Nene’s half confession at the inquiry was not adequate. The Economic Freedom Fighters had an ace up their sleeve: Nene’s son Siyabonga had sourced funding for a refinery in Mozambique from Public Investment Corporation during the tenure of his father as deputy finance minister and chairman of PIC. After Nene’s promotion to the post of finance minister, it was left to the chairperson of the PIC Dan Matjila to facilitate that. This was a clear conflict of interest by Nene who was the overall boss to Matjila. Nene has resigned and he has been replaced as Finance Minister by Tito Mboweni.

This is no way to run a country. Let us hope all ministers who have lied in parliament and under oath will resign or be forced to resign, rather than further embarrassing the country and ANC.

Maybe we should be grateful to Bathabile Dlamini for having informed us that ANC politicians all have smallanyana skeletons. Every passing day she is being proven right.

The State Capture inquiry as the dislodged boulder is tumbling down, and the only way for the ANC to stand clear is by overhauling itself and changing the way of compiling its list of candidates for the 2019 general elections.

It is clear that most ANC parliamentarians have bags full of skeletons. They are directly implicated in State Capture by defrauding the state, while others are guilty of not reporting wrongdoing. Most ANC members of parliament have been watching as the Guptas and their lieutenants looted the state without reporting them to the police. As the inquiry shows, wives and children of some ANC officials have also unlawfully benefited from the state.

Judge Zondo’s inquiry further exposes the police’s inadequate investigations, with many cases unattended by default of the retired police generals Richard Mdluli, Berning Ntlemeza and Kgomotso Phahlane. The voters are shocked with these revelations.

Likewise, the National Prosecuting Authority with its files and files of cases shelved by default of former NPA head, Advocate Shaun Abrahams. The question here is: when will the NPA start working? The voters are losing hope in the state’s ability to prosecute the fraudsters and criminals listed in the inquiry. While the State Capture inquiry lays bare all the evidence, if the NPA does not prosecute it will only lead to total despondency in the population.

We can see this inquiry will only reveal more shallow graves and corpses. The question is, can the ANC – and the people’s faith in democratic government – survive? The answer is yes, but only if the ANC’s previously unaccountable MPs are made directly accountable to the population, organised in constituencies. Otherwise the ANC and the promise of the Freedom Charter cannot survive.

The worst for the ANC will be to die a lingering death by losing votes in towns and provinces, leading to coalition administrations and ultimately losing control of national government.

The State Capture inquiry is like a downpour of rain in the drought of our motherland, South Africa. It proves that the electoral law placed in our interim Constitution in 1993 is not fit for purpose. It is a recipe only for unconstitutional and unrepresentative government, unaccountable to the people, which can only be overhauled with reformed parliamentary laws and internal ANC electoral reforms.

We need more democracy, with large, multimember constituencies for National Assembly and provincial legislatures with 75 % (300) MPs elected directly by the voters and 25 % (100) of MPs appointed by the party headquarters. This is how to prevent future State Capture. It is only by making politicians directly accountable to voters as individuals that we can honour the promise of the Freedom Charter, when it promised: “The People Shall Govern!” There is no other way.

Inside ANC we need One ANC Member One Vote for electing all leaders from the president to the branch chairperson. This is how to prevent factions, slates, gate-keeping, intimidation and general rigging of elections.

It is now or never. This is the time to overhaul the ANC and the electoral systems.

The people should govern, not party headquarters. DM

Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views

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