The African National Congress (ANC) Integrity Commission has called on the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) to instruct former State Security minister Bongani Bongo to “step aside.”
The Commission made the call in a statement issued on Friday, citing Bongo’s recent arrest and appearance in court for corruption and bribery charges.
It recommended that the NEC should “take swift and decisive action to restore the confidence of the public in the ANC’s stated position of zero tolerance to corruption.”
Accusations against Pravin Gordhan
“To that end, comrade Bongo should be instructed to step aside with immediate effect from all positions and activities of the ANC, including his deployment into public office by the organisation, until his name has been cleared of the criminal charges levelled against him,” the Commission said.
The Commission, which is chaired by ANC veteran George Mashamba, also took issue with Bongo’s public accusations against fellow NEC member Pravin Gordhan.
In an interview with eNCA, Bongo claimed that Gordhan orchestrated his arrest, alleged harassment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and alleged poisoning.
“I never accused Gordhan, but he accused me of working with the EFF and the Public Protector and said I will see what will happen to me,” he claimed. Gordhan denied the claims, terming them “foolish.”
NEC ‘should rebuke and caution Bongo’
In its statement, the Commission said the NEC should “rebuke and seriously caution comrade Bongo against casting aspersions on other comrades, thus causing unnecessary tension and divisions in the ANC which in turn impacts negatively on its integrity in the public eye.”
It added, “The IC also recommends that comrade Bongo be advised that if and when he has any issue with any comrade, he should make use of the internal structures and processes of the ANC.”
The Commission’s statement comes on the back of another statement issued by ANC stalwarts Mavuso Msimang, Cheryl Carolus, Murphy Morobe, Thami Ntenteni, Siphiwe Nyanda, Aziz Pahad, Fazel Randera, Wally Serote and Sheila Sisulu.
They said invoking the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty in defence of Bongo is a “disappointing signal of tolerance for unethical conduct.”
In several media interviews last week, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe invoked the principle and said Bongo would thus remain an ANC MP and chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs.
However, the stalwarts differed, “We do not pronounce on the guilt or innocence of former Minister Bongo, but the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] has charged him and he will appear in the High Court in January. Ignoring our own resolutions, taken by the highest structure of the ANC, is not an option.”
Bongo was released on a R5,000 bail and the case was postponed to 31 January, 2020. He is set to make representations to the NPA for the charges to be dropped.
His charges emanate from allegations that he attempted to bribe an evidence leader to derail a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises in 2017.