The ANC can never be trusted again

Mmusi Maimane notes that that party dismantled the Scorpions ahead of Zuma becoming state president

The ANC fired the Scorpions in 2008. We must fire the ANC in 2019.

It seems surreal that despite a seemingly endless flow of highly incriminating evidence of brazen looting of state coffers, not a single arrest has been made, nor investigation instigated. To me, it seems equally surreal that the blame for this is almost universally directed at President Zuma rather than at the ANC. Yet the ANC began suppressing state mechanisms of accountability before Zuma became president and they will clearly need to keep doing so, even after he steps down. The ANC is our real problem, not Zuma.

The Scorpions were the most potent and widely trusted crime-fighting unit our democracy has ever known. They tackled complex criminal investigations without fear or favour. No corporate director or high ranking politician was out of bounds. And this is why they had to go.

The ANC disbanded them in 2008, before Zuma became president, to protect themselves from arms deal and travelgate-style corruption that had already become entrenched in the ANC by then.

Had the Scorpions not been decommissioned back then, the capture of our state by the Zuma and Gupta families and their massive network of cronies would likely never have gotten off the ground. But the ANC opted to expose the country to this kind of risk, to protect themselves. And they are still at it. That is why they have protected Zuma in seven motions of no confidence and that is why they will do so again next month.

Even if enough MPs, such as Makhosi Khoza and Pravin Gordhan, vote with their conscience and Zuma is fired, it will not be enough. Make no mistake, this country will still be led by people who have let us down badly, many of whom are themselves compromised and will therefore continue to suppress all constitutional mechanisms for accountability. The only way to truly free our country is to fire the ANC in 2019.

Consider this statement by ANC Member of Parliament Yunus Carrim, in his speech in Parliament in 2008 arguing for the disbanding of the Scorpions: “Finally, let me say that we must be very clear. We are simply not going to allow our wonderful country to be handed over to organised criminals - absolutely not. [Applause.] You can bet your life on it, it is not going to happen. Do you know why? Mainly, you have to trust us. The main victims of organised crime, corruption and crime in general are the working class and the poor.”

Well Carrim was absolutely correct that the main victims of organized crime are the working class and the poor. Though that didn’t stop the ANC (and their SACP alliance partners) from handing the keys to our Treasury over to the biggest organized crime syndicate our democracy has ever seen. With a record 9.3 million South Africans now jobless, and with real per capita incomes having contracted for the past 3 years, poor South Africans are left in no doubt as to who are the main victims of organized crime.

But with the benefit of hindsight, we South Africans should know it was a grave mistake to place our trust in the ANC. They began their state capture project, deliberately and consciously, when they adopted their policy of cadre deployment at their Mafikeng conference in 1997 to gain control over the “key levers of power” – including “the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, parastatals, and agencies such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank and so on”. The Guptas didn’t invent state capture, they just perfected it.

We urgently need to restore the checks and balances that will protect South Africa from rampant looting.

Instead, the ANC is already at work to destroy the most potent of all mechanisms of accountability: free and fair elections. Just this week, veteran ANC leader Frank Chikane warned that funds raised by the state capture project would be used to “steal the 2019 elections”.

The national election of 2019 may be our last opportunity to restore accountability and fire the ANC. We must seize it. The DA has fought state capture resolutely on all fronts. When we lead a coalition government in 2019, we will move swiftly to restore the independence and strength of our crime fighting institutions so that a culture of accountability can once again take root in our democracy.

Mmusi Maimane
DA Leader