The African National Congress’ (ANC) KwaZulu-Natal Integrity Commission has begun its work, summoning party members implicated in various crimes to appear before it. The commission is headed by a team of well-respected veterans, among them Sipho Magwaza, who chairs the commission in the province.
Magwaza says those members who have already appeared before the commission have been co-operative.
Magwaza cut his political teeth while at high school. He later joined uMkhonto we Sizwe and rose up the ranks to command a number of units and being responsible for intelligence.
During the integration of uMkhonto we Sizwe into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Magwaza joined the army and served in the SANDF’s intelligence unit.
“I was doing intelligence work in the ANC underground, things as a soldier of the MK. I have always been working for the ANC of course after the unbanning I worked for the ANC office in the Department of Information and Publicity with the late comrade Dumisani Makhaye.”
Despite some questions being raised about the legality of the commission, Magwaza says it is an important structure that has been set up to guide and assist in restoring the integrity of the ANC.
Recently the ANC took a decision at an NEC meeting that party members who are implicated in crimes should step aside and appear before the party’s Integrity Commission.
Magwaza says the role of these integrity commissions should not be confused with that of the provincial and national disciplinary committees.
“Our aim is to bring back the integrity of the ANC and its people, not only the organisation. So, it is important for the integrity commission to listen and clear the air. People get accused of different things and no one has listened to them. Now, the integrity commission will do just that. So, the integrity commission will listen to your story and advise the ANC. We advise and we don’t issue sentences, we listen and suggest to the PEC to say this is what we think will solve (the issue).”
Magwaza has been the chairperson of the provincial integrity commission since 2016. Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and one of her co-accused in a corruption case, Mondli Mthembu, are among the people who have already appeared before the commission.
The ANC’s Deputy Provincial Chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Mike Mabuyakhulu, who is also a former Economic Development MEC has also appeared before the commission. Mabuyakhulu is facing fraud and corruption charges in a case separate from that of Gumede.