In a move that has shocked the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the head of campaigns Fikile Mbalula has admitted that bribery is rife at the party’s elective conferences.
Mbalula who is advocating for a stop to the culture of bribery, is quoted saying that an “integrity committee” would be discussed by the ANC at its mid-term national general council in Durban next month.
ANC is considering setting up a committee to tackle corruption and conflict of interests which would also deal with false allegations against members. According to Mbalula, the committee could only be agreed upon by the
party’s national conference in 2012.
This comes after the head of campaigns indicated that huge sums of money is being thrown around by leaders to lobby for support at ANC conferences and that it was a “danger that the organisation could be hijacked” in this way.
“The question should not be how much money you have to have to win, but how hard you have worked for the party. We have been grappling with this question for a long time,” he is quoted saying.
Vote-buying, dirty lobbying, factionalism and smear campaigns have characterised the ANC conferences since its unbanning.
And reports say ANC is proposing strict sanctions such as the disqualification of a delegate, expulsion from the meeting and the naming and shaming of candidates and their supporters as a way of containing power struggles.
Power struggles and factional fights led to legal threats in the ANC in 2007 as well as court battles in the youth league this year, forcing the party to intervene and put a halt to legal battles.
Mbalula said the national general council would discuss the issue of ANC members running to the courts before exhausting internal ANC processes to resolve disputes.
“If this issue is not addressed there is a danger that the ANC will have a president that is determined by a judge,” he said.
Mbalula’s admission comes on the heels of the clearing of ANC youth leader, Julius Malema by the courts on allegations of exploiting his political position and links to secure lucrative government contracts.