Johannesburg – Faced with a disenchanted electorate and damaging criticism for its lacklustre attitude towards corruption in its own ranks, the ANC wants to conduct lifestyle audits on all its senior leaders accused of irregularities.
ANC members deployed in senior positions in the government and state-owned entities, including the troubled SAA and SABC, are expected to be subjected to the same scrutiny.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced the measures on Monday, following the governing party’s national executive committee meeting at the weekend.
“Discipline within the ANC must be stringently enforced at all levels and the values of the ANC must be discernible in all members in statement and conduct,” Mantashe said.
“Self-serving and careerist politicians must be discouraged from our ranks and those who use the ANC for selfish gain acted against.
“The NEC has called for the introduction of ad hoc lifestyle audits for political leaders and public servants. The NEC has also directed that all allegations of corruption must be responded to and clarified as soon as they arise.”
The call came as high-ranking ANC members face criminal and civil cases.
Gauteng ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa has yet to answer to allegations that he gave his friends millions of rands worth of government tenders while he was MEC for Health.
In the Northern Cape, former ANC chairperson John Block is due to be sentenced in December after he was convicted of corruption involving millions of rand.
Former minister of transport Sbu Ndebele is facing a charge of corruption involving R10 million in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria.
Mantashe said the audits should be done randomly and that the ANC intended to appoint agencies that specialised in such work.
Mantashe alluded to the decline in support as having jolted the ANC into action.
“The NEC appreciates and is humbled by the fact that despite a reduced majority and the loss of key metros, the ANC remains the hope of the majority of South Africans and continues to enjoy popular support. Disunity, factionalism and corruption have, however, created a trust deficit between the people and the ANC, leading to a loss of confidence by the people in their movement.”
The lifestyle audits would enable the ANC to act faster to create jobs, fight crime and deal decisively with corruption, which are “the greatest concerns facing our people”.
Mantashe said the ANC must be bold in responding to the problems, because denial would only serve to deepen the crisis.
Political analyst professor Lesiba Teffo was sceptical of the decision to conduct lifestyle audits
“It’s too late and might not achieve anything because it won’t deal with the issues that matter most, which is the big fish such as the president, the premiers, members of the executives and deployees in state-owned entities,” he said.
“The electorate is so disenchanted that it will ask the question ‘why now’?”
Analyst Ralph Mathekga was critical of the lifestyle audits, saying it was intrusive.
Mantashe also said that the ANC had resolved to remove all councillors who were improperly made councillors.
He said the NEC received a report from its national working committee which identified various acts of manipulations of lists process and recommended that they should bring an end to it.
Mathekga said the decision was a good move to restore integrity within the ANC.
“It must ensure that the elections of leaders are done in an open and transparent matter,” he added.