Let's not get excited about a few ANC suspects being told to appear before the party's integrity committee. It's a toothless body which previously cleared Deputy President David Mabuza. That tells you all you need to know about the standards of integrity required for a free pass. Until politically connected criminals are jailed, the so-called war on corruption is just talk. The hype about President Cyril Ramaphosa drawing a line in the sand is overblown. After the weekend meeting of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC), Ramaphosa was unable to clarify how the integrity committee should operate. Nor could he...
Let's not get excited about a few ANC suspects being told to appear before the party's integrity committee. It's a toothless body which previously cleared Deputy President David Mabuza. That tells you all you need to know about the standards of integrity required for a free pass.

Until politically connected criminals are jailed, the so-called war on corruption is just talk. The hype about President Cyril Ramaphosa drawing a line in the sand is overblown. After the weekend meeting of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC), Ramaphosa was unable to clarify how the integrity committee should operate. Nor could he say whether its decisions are binding.

According to Carol Paton in Business Day, Ramaphosa said this is still under discussion. The NEC would soon meet the committee to sort out a modus operandi. This is hardly a turning point in the way ANC deals with corruption. It's simply more muddling along.

Yet we all need hope. And what better season for new hope than spring. On cue, along comes Hermione Cronje, who heads the Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). In a Sunday Times interview, Chris Barron asked her when we will see the first high-profile individual being charged. "In September. That's the timeframe we're working with." Wow.

On the record. She said after upgrading her team and receiving greater support from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, she has a pipeline of high-profile cases almost ready to go to court. Surely, that provides a glimmer of hope. A more famous Hermione is the fictional Harry Potter's Muggle-born Gryffindor friend.

With September upon us, if we can't pin our hopes on a confused ANC integrity committee, Hermione's magic may do the trick. Anything to rid SA of this corruption virus.

The anticipated showdown in the ANC NEC may have been exaggerated in the media, but we are living in turbulent times. Our leaders could benefit from the wisdom of a 19th-century US president with legendary skill in dealing with upheavals. In her book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin explains how Lincoln drew opponents into his fold.

Lincoln's "bold and brilliant actions helped him steer the country through its darkest days" of civil war and beyond. These lessons have not been applied by fellow Republican, US president Donald Trump, who dismisses, ridicules and vilifies opponents.

CNN gives the impression Trump is steering the US into, rather than through, its darkest days. Closer to home, the "team of rivals" strategy which has been attempted within the ANC is unravelling. Not everyone is a team player. And some differences between rivals are irreconcilable. All this is fine.

Our country doesn't have to be sacrificed on the altar of some mythical ANC unity. Let the ANC splinter. To get through these dark days we need leadership which has the vision to include rivals in a team. Unlike the president of ActionSA, who said he would handpick his executives.

"It becomes your responsibility to surround yourself with like-minded people."

Hermione magic in the air


Martin Williams, DA councillor and former editor of The Citizen.

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