RESPONSE FROM THE INTEGRITY COMMISSION
The Integrity Commission (IC) welcomes the article by cde Alvin Botes in Umrabulo #47.
The development and functioning of the IC is in motion and is a continuous process. As the crisis within the ANC deepens, so the tasks facing the IC become more complex. The IC has proposed amendments to the Terms of Reference (ToR) it was given after 54th Conference at Nascrec for a few reasons. The first is that if the regulatory environment is too narrow, or too detailed, the IC will not be able to deal with issues falling outside of that definition. Thus the proposed amendments seek to encompass a wide range of what is understood as “unethical” conduct whilst leaving enough space to accommodate unforeseen circumstances and by not tying ourselves to greater detail.
Secondly, the proposed amendments to the ToR allow the IC to be pro-active and “invite” comrades to appear before it. Until recently the IC could only be re-active and had to wait for issues to be referred to it from the NEC.
Thirdly, the proposed ToR of the IC to be made public, so that there is wide understanding by the membership of its role and function.
The IC is not part of any faction or grouping of the ANC. It is crucial that it is, and is seen to be above the divisive and corrosive activities that are tearing the organisation apart. It is logical therefore that there will be attempts to use the IC as a tool for factional interests, and/or that there will be attempts to sideline and ignore it. In this last period, the IC is experiencing both. Strong Terms of Reference will enable the IC to function freely, without fear or favour.
The IC is also very clear that it is not an internal police force, nor a prosecutorial arm, nor a court of law, nor a custodian of “moral” values. Whilst both the Disciplinary Committee (DC) and the IC deal with bad behaviour, corruption, tribalism, sexism, racism and a host of other negative and destructive tendencies, they have different functions. The DC has the power to take action. The IC makes recommendations to the NEC who can reject or accept according to how they see fit.
Thus it is important to put on record that the 23 comrades on the National Parliamentary list, cde Botes refers to, were not investigated by the IC, nor did the IC recommend that they not be deployed. For the record it needs to be clearly stated that:
- the twenty three comrades were referred to the IC by the Secretary General’s Office (SGO). The IC did not identify or choose them.
- The vetting team from the SGO briefed the IC on the allegations made against them
- The IC interviewed seventeen of the twenty three comrades . There was no investigation. The IC asked two questions of each of the comrades:
- why, when there are allegations against you, did you not abide by the Resolution of the 54th Conference and present yourself to the IC?
- In your opinion, have the allegations made against you damaged the reputation of the ANC?
- No one was cleared or not cleared. After the newspaper headlines declared that the Deputy President had been cleared by the IC, the IC issued a short statement saying that no-one had been cleared or not cleared, but the SGO did not distribute it.
- A report was drawn up for the NEC on the findings emanating from the seventeen interviews and what transpired in the course of those interviews and
- The IC has asked for feedback on that report which was submitted in May 2019, but as yet have not received anything.
The IC has not had, as yet, an opportunity to put forward to the NEC the fact that the divisions and corruption within the ANC – as expressed in the past by the Office Bearers and by the Resolutions of Conference – is not in itself the problem. Such behaviour is in fact an expression of a very deep problem which, if faced, can be dealt with. If ignored, which is the case at the moment, we will be observers and participants in our own demise. Time is not on our side.