Graft, Faction Fights Undermine South Africa, Minister Says

JOHANNESBURG (Capital Markets in Africa) – South Africa’s future is being undermined by rampant corruption and faction fights in the ruling African National Congress ahead of its conference to choose a new leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said.

Sisulu, who’s vying to succeed Zuma as the ANC leader at the party’s national conference in December, made her comments Wednesday in a wide-ranging discussion at a town hall meeting in Johannesburg hosted by Radio 702. She’s considered an outside contender in a race in which Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s ex-wife and former chairwoman of the African Union Commission, are widely seen as the front-runners. Sisulu ruled out accepting the position as deputy on either ticket.

 “I was approached to run for president of the ANC and ultimately those people did not ask me to be a deputy,” Sisulu, 63, said. “I am not a deputy to anyone. I am not a deputy just because I am a woman.”

The task of uniting the ANC after the damage to the party’s image caused by Zuma’s scandal-ridden presidency is daunting. A bitter split in KwaZulu-Natal has effectively left the eastern province without a party leadership, and allies such as the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Communist Party are openly calling for the president to go. In a municipal vote in August last year, the ANC suffered its worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid in 1994.

“I have a plan to return the ANC and the country back to its glory,” Sisulu said.

Money Politics
Money is being used to buy the loyalty of ANC members and branches, which will decide who is the next party leader, Sisulu said. Other contenders to succeed Zuma as party leader and its presidential candidate in 2019 elections include party Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize, parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, Jeff Radebe, a minister in the presidency and Matthews Phosa, a former party official.

Sisulu said that the party is still undecided about the expropriation of land without compensation. Graft has become so ingrained in South Africa, Sisulu said, that the country needs a corruption tribunal to deal with it.

“We don’t want people to think we are using this thing of corruption as a tool for factionalism,” she said. “It is a real problem. It is unbearable. It is out in the open and completely unbearable.”

Source: Bloomberg Business News

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