The South Africa Federation of Trade Unions congratulates Corruption Watch and Section 27 for using a PAIA application to force the release of the SIU report that documents widespread corruption and gross financial misconduct totalling some R1.2-billion in the Gauteng Department of Health (GDH) between 2006 and 2010.
The federation condemns that fact that it took over seven years to bring this report into the open, while former president Zuma sat on it and then Ramaphosa also did not release it.
This delay, as David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, has said, “has abetted the extraordinary impunity enjoyed by major alleged perpetrators, at least one of whom, Brian Hlongwa, the former MEC for Health in the Gauteng government and now the ANC chief whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, continues to occupy high political office.”
It is outrageous that the wheels of justice roll so slowly to expose and punish the political elites even when the evidence of their criminality is clear, which explains why no more than 5 politicians have served jail terms in 24 years of democracy.
The Gauteng government failed to refer any of the conduct revealed in this report to the authorities, even though the SIU had referred some cases to them as early as 2011.
SAFTU also notes that, as Corruption Watch and Section 27 point out, “private sector interests are also deeply implicated…This is a textbook example of state capture in practice”.
These are not only very serious crimes but they have huge for the people of South Africa. As Anele Yawa, general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, has said, “the corruption is directly linked to the current devastating financial crisis in the Gauteng health department.
“The Gauteng health system is in crisis. Patients’ needs are growing yet critical posts are being frozen; community health workers are unpaid; billions of rands are owed to critical institutions like the NHLS and SA National Blood Service, threatening their viability. And despite all this several implicated officials remain in high office. This sends the message that crime does pay.”
SAFTU demands that those accused of corruption in the SIU report are speedily arrested and brought to justice, and they must include the private sector companies and individuals implicated, who must also be prevented from doing any further business with the state, at any level.
The national and provincial leadership of the ANC must also repudiate the conduct of Brian Hlongwa, immediately remove him as a member of the Gauteng legislature and refer him the ANC’s Integrity Commission.
SAFTU however has little confidence that the faction-divided ANC will do anything, given their appalling record of involvement in corruption and their failure even to acknowledge its existence and extent.
The evidence was clear in September 2010 when then COSATU general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, now in the same position in SAFTU, condemned “predatory elites, who, if not stopped, would create the danger that the whole state and society will be auctioned to the highest bidder. If tenderpreneurs succeed to make corruption a norm accepted by society, then we would be in a predator state controlled by political hyenas that would make looting a normal activity”.
Yet eight years later the ANC can make the astonishing statement that they are “shocked” at the scale of corruption in the country, and its deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte can say that Tony Yengeni should never been jailed after failing to declare a discount he received on a luxury Mercedes Benz 4×4, and that the ANC could have handled former president Jacob Zuma’s forced exit from the presidency much better.
This is yet more proof that the ANC is too divided and spineless to clean up corruption, punish the guilty or to do a real self-correction.
This epidemic of looting and fraud of South Africa’s wealth will be one of the topics at the the Working Class Summit (WCS) to be held on 21- 22 July 2018 at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus.
It s goal is to unite civil society formations, employed and unemployed workers, those in the informal sector and in more secure work, the students and the landless, the homeless and those fighting against the water crisis and the scourge of violence against women and children, into a struggle for a truly free, corruption-free, democratic and equal society.
We call on all those interested in participating in the WCS to contact us.
Tel: +27 (11) 331 0124