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The National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the highest decision-making body in the African National Congress (ANC), recently met to discuss recent wide-ranging issues which included; reports of graft, the Covid-19 pandemic, Women's Month, local government, the taxi industry indaba and infrastructure development's role in the country's plans for economic recovery.

However, the party’s attempt to discuss the ongoing corruption fast became a situation of finger-pointing, with different factions blaming one another for benefiting from corruption.

The NEC once again condemned these acts and vowed to fight the scourge, which has become largely associated with the party and its members.

In a statement by its secretary-general, Ace Magashule, given on Tuesday, the party said it was "outraged" and "ashamed" by the reports of corruption, including some of its own seeking to unlawfully benefit from the suffering experienced by many due to Covid-19.

Several corruption claims have also surface in the recent weeks which include cases relating to the procurement of personal protective equipment, as well as other claims of the looting and using of food parcels to dispense political patronage.

"These developments cause us collectively to dip our heads in shame and to humble ourselves before the people. We acknowledge the justifiable public outrage caused by the depravity and heartlessness displayed by some elements in government, our organisation and the private sector," Magashule said in the statement.

The claims spread wider as the secretary-general's sons have also been accused of benefiting from Covid-19 tenders, joining a long list of family members who are linked to ANC leaders and who were rewarded contracts from the state during the crisis.

Mafashule said that the party is now drawing the line on corruption and would combine preventative and punishment measures in its fight against it.

He continued to list the actions the organisation said they would take during the party's 2017 Nasrec elective conference.

Magashule also stated that all the party's provincial and regional structures would also be instructed to report steps taken against those accused of disrupting both the food parcels distribution chains and other Covid-19 measures, to the ANC's national working committee. These set out steps will also be included to the members who are facing claims of corruption and other serious crimes, and will be expected to "maybe" step aside from their responsibilities.

The party stated that the ANC's integrity and disciplinary committees would also be strengthened, while a code of ethics for public representatives, members of the executive and public servants would also be compiled.

As the party is taking action against corruption, the party's national officials were also tasked with studying the nature and causes of corruption. "The NEC called upon the ANC-led government to urgently establish a permanent multi-disciplinary agency to deal with all cases of white-collar crime, organised crime and corruption. Furthermore, the NEC called upon all law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties without fear, favour or prejudice," said Magashule.

NEC fully supports president Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to refer all allegations linked to the procurement of Covid-19 goods and services to the Special Investigative Unit (SIU).

Concern over the state of the country's municipalities were also brought to light by the NEC and is now calling on national, provincial and local governments to address the root causes of problems in municipalities, which also includes several concerns such as the disregard for controls; non-compliance with legislation and assurance providers; inadequate monitoring of internal controls; vacancies in critical positions; and a continued capacity gap in administration and leadership instability.

Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, revealed that only 20 of the country's 278 municipalities achieved a clean audit, with more than R1-billion having been spent on consultants and R32-billion in irregular expenditure during the last financial year.

"These administrative and governance lapses make for very weak accountability and the consequent exposure to abuse of the public purse. Furthermore, the NEC emphasised the importance of respecting the political-administrative interface and allowing senior leaders in the administration the space to play their statutory role without interference, including the filling of critical vacancies," he said.

Magashule also mentioned that the NEC urged the government to complete its recovery and reconstruction plan, centred on a massive infrastructure programme. 

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