Former intelligence minister Bongani Bongo, says he is going nowhere. The defiant ANC NEC member has lashed out at reports that he had resigned.
Bongo told Independent Media that the ANC would not act against the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa by trying to remove him from his parliamentary position without evidence. He said he wanted clarity on what basis he should resign.
These recent developments come after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “new rule” that NEC members and ANC members in public office charged with corruption and serious crimes should step aside.
Last week, there were reports that Bongo had stepped down as an MP and NEC member.
Independent Media has now learnt that the news broke on a WhatsApp group and was shared on social media but Parliament had not received a resignation letter from Bongo.
Bongo, an advocate, is facing corruption charges for allegedly trying to derail a parliamentary probe into Eskom affairs.
“I want clarity from the ANC’s Integrity Commission on why I should step aside when I have not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.
“We will be sailing on dangerous ground if we don’t obey the constitution of the ANC and that of the Republic. I’m not going anywhere,” Bongo said.
Bongo is joining about 15 ANC NEC members who have cases to plead before the Integrity Commission.
Last week, President Ramaphosa announced that he would subject himself before the commission. This came after the commission announced it had not cleared Deputy President David Mabuza, ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe and Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo.
Ramaphosa is embroiled in an adverse finding by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane over his CR-17 presidential campaign funding.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has to answer to allegations that he established a rogue unit during his time at SA Revenue Services.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is also in a court battle after she was criminally charged with the abuse of animals.
On Friday, Communication Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams vowed that she would also present herself to the commission after Independent Media’s Special Investigation unit published a story exposing secret recordings in which the minister told her board members not to engage in business with her husband Thato Abrahams.
Also facing pressure to subject themselves to the commission are former minister Nomvula Mokonyane, secretary-general Ace Magashule, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko.
Said Bongo: “The constitution of the ANC does not say I must step aside, the Constitution says an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. So what I have requested on my side was a written instruction.”
He added that upon getting the letter, he would take it to court and see whether it would pass a legal test. They must not act arbitrarily,” he stressed.
Asked why he is hell-bent on challenging the decision of the party, Bongo cited the 2012 case of Mpho Ramakatsa, a former ANC member who took the party to court for firing him because he dragged it to court instead of relying on internal mechanisms. Ramakatsa won the matter.
He said the court affirmed that the ANC constitution is not above that of the country and can be taken to court by its members.
Bongo further punched holes in the decision of the ANC and said laws passed should not be applied retrospectively.
“The law is not applied retrospectively. You can’t pass a law today and say let me go back and look for someone that did something wrong years back and use the law against him or her.
“The law starts applying from cases that happened the day it was passed. Look at our Constitution, it started applying in 1996, the year it was passed,” he said.
ANC spokespersons Pule Mabe and Dakota Lekgoete were available for comment last night.
Sources at Luthuli House have revealed last night that a virtual Top 6 meeting sat to discuss ANC members implicated in the VBS scandal.
However, they could not agree that the implicated members be relieved of their duties. Ramaphosa is said to have suggested legal experts be consulted to “avoid a legal catastrophe”.
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