Following the increasing call for president Zuma to step down, the ANC’s integrity commission is yet to make President Jacob Zuma give account of all cases charged against him irrespective of the two damning court rulings against him.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, ANC’s commission member Frene Ginwala carefully reviewed the cout rulings on both the spy tape and Nkandla money, saying they have tread with caution when dealing with matters involving senior ANC leaders because they would get a “tremendous backlash” if they made a mistake.
She said the integrity commission “is a very big step that the ANC has taken. Most of us at the commission are worried. First of all, you need to know it is not a committee, it is a commission, which in the ANC is very rare.
“Secondly, we are very conscious that we make one mistake and then we get a tremendous backlash, it could be a genuine mistake and everything people worked for, for a long time goes down the drain. If you blame us and say we are too cautious we will plead guilty,” she added.
When asked if the commission would be calling the president for questioning over the charged cases, Ginwala said those are very heavy legal issues which would require a longer time to go through. “It might come in but we would have to discuss it and we would have to be very sure of what we are doing.”
However, she noted that the commission has plans to discuss the mater. “It’s something that should be looked at”.
Meanwhile, ANC veteran Ben Turok thinks the commission has little or no role to play in deciding Zuma’s fate in the party. He said as far as he knew, the commission had achieved very little.
“I don’t want to attack these people because they are good people. But they are a small subcommittee, with no power and status in the organisation.
“Everything depends on the top six (ANC officials) and the top six determine everything; this is just a group of small people trying to do something good.” But without the approval of the top six, they can’t do anything, Turok remarked.
He further stated that Zuma had to account and step down following the court judgments. However, he believes Zuma still enjoyed support in the ANC and that it could take a long time to remove him.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe insisted on not commenting on behalf of the integrity commission.
ANC’s integrity commission came under scrutiny at the party’s national general council last October. the party permitted the commission to take action even before a case of a leader was concluded and that its decisions were binding.
Last week’s court’s ruling that the National Prosecuting Authority’s 2009 decision to drop the 783 fraud, corruption and racketeering charges against Zuma was irrational and the ConCourt decision on Nkandla have brought the spotlight on the integrity commission.