An economic recovery plan for politically exposed individuals to be banned from doing business with the state has been given a nod by the ANC NEC Lekgotla.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said as much in his televised closing address at the virtual National Executive Committee (NEC) Lekgotla.
“Further consultation will be held with the alliance partners and in the legislatures across the political spectrum to find the most appropriate approach to the issue of other politically exposed persons conducting business with the state,” he said.
In September, News24 reported that a draft economic recovery action plan, before the The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), proposed “extending the prohibition of the ban on public servants doing business with the state to Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), as per the Financial Intelligence Centre Act’s definitions”.
Amid widespread reports of corruption around emergency procurement during the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a raging debate whether family members of ANC leaders should be allowed to do business with the state. ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has long defended his sons making millions through state procurement. If Nedlac’s plan is accepted, this would have a profound effect on family members of politicians coining it from the state.
Last week, the Hawks pounced on several business people who have strong ties to ANC leaders with the most notable being Thoshan Panday – a longtime friend of former President Jacob Zuma and Edwin Sodi who reports say donated money to high-ranking ANC leaders including Ministers Zweli Mkhize and Thulas Nxesi.
“The work that is being done by law enforcement is commendable and we reaffirm that we must leave no stone unturned in dealing with crime and corruption,” Ramaphosa said, adding:”The ANC commits to an approach that balances the need for the detection of the movement of bribes, the use of the financial systems to launder illicit money flows and the human rights needs to allow for honest living including engaging in business activities where a citizen has ceased to be entrusted with a prominent public function.”
He said the ANC took note of the social economic impact of illicit financial flows, anti-competitive behaviour, protection rackets, racketeering, and destruction of public infrastructure.
To drive a process for social compact and mobilisation he said a united ANC was essential with a strong, active presence at community levels and in all sectors of society.
“Strengthening and renewal of the ANC therefore remains an absolute priority, and a precondition for the deployment of capable cadres as public representatives and in the state. The ANC commits to ensuring effective gender mainstreaming in all aspects of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, through the participation and mobilisation of women at all levels.”
He said the better part of the Lekgotla was spent talking about implementation of economic plans. The ANC and government have committed to mobilising society behind the economic reconstruction, growth and transformation plan, saying: “The broad framework of which has emerged from interactions at Nedlac.”
“Such a plan can only be implemented, and have the desired outcomes, if all sections of society are mobilised to play their role in its implementation and monitoring. Now is the time for active citizenship to make this work.”
This comes as ANC’s biggest affiliate and Ramaphosa’s allies in the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) are embarking on a nationwide strike action against corruption, retrenchments and unemployment, gender-based violence, and attacks on collective bargaining.
Cosatu recently spoke out against Ramaphosa criticising his government for being too slow in acting against those in the party who are alleged to be corrupt.
During a media briefing in August, Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, said while it welcomed Ramaphosa’s push back against corruption, it could only judge the results and not the intentions.
He added aggressive prosecution was the only dependable vaccine to cure the virus of corruption – not speeches, letters, or public proclamations.
“President Ramaphosa will not win the fight against corruption if he continues to be confrontation averse, he needs to start swinging a big axe if he wants workers to trust and believe in him.
“Half the purpose of the criminal justice system is deterrence, so law enforcement agencies need to target corrupt CEOs, senior managers, and politicians and send them to prison.”
This is the first time Cosatu has shown signs of a lack of confidence in Ramaphosa since he was elected as ANC president.The trade union federation was his strongest ally in his campaign for party president leading up to the watershed Nasrec conference that saw him elected.