Johannesburg – South African liberation struggle veterans have condemned the looting and corruption that has characterised the disbursement of Covid-19 emergency funds and the awarding of supply contracts, in which some members of the ruling African National Congress have been implicated.
In a hard-hitting statement, the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), whose members formed the armed wing of the ANC during the struggle against apartheid rule, said any party member found guilty of graft should be “mercilessly exposed and driven out”.
“Nothing can be more depraved than stealing from the poor, destitute and hungry, and enriching oneself at their cost,” MKMVA spokesman Carl Niehaus said.
“The disturbing, and apparently large scale, involvement of so-called comrades from the African National Congress in this looting is more than deeply embarrassing, it is diabolical, and contrary to every single principle that the ANC as the pre-eminent liberation movement of South Africa should stand for.”
Niehaus’s statement came a day after the ANC professed shame and contrition at reports that party members and leaders were involved in procurement corruption linked to the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After a meeting of its national executive committee, it said the revelations had caused the party “collectively to dip our heads in shame”, and acknowledged the “justifiable public outrage caused by the depravity and heartlessness displayed by some elements in government, our organisation and the private sector”.
On Wednesday, Niehaus said the MKMVA veterans had not sacrificed their lives during the struggle for democracy “for a society where corruption is rife, and the little bit of daily bread of the poorest of the poor is literally yanked out of their mouths by vultures to feed their insatiable glutinous appetites, and sickening over-the-top conspicuous lifestyles”.
“The time to choose our words carefully, and to beat around the bush, is long over. We cannot talk in whispers, the only just action for every true revolutionary is to rage with anger, and shout from the mountain top of our indignation as loud as and as clear as we possibly can that this must end, and it must end right now!” he said.
Among those implicated in graft is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko, who has taken leave of absence pending a probe into allegations that her husband stood to benefit from a contract to provide Covid-19 related personal protective equipment.
Diko has denied deliberate wrongdoing, but apologised for showing poor judgement in the matter.
African News Agency/ANA