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ANC Defends Zizi Kodwa’s Swearing-In Amid Corruption Charges

The African National Congress (ANC) has justified the appointment of Zizi Kodwa, a former minister facing bribery charges, as a Member of Parliament. This decision raises questions about the ANC’s commitment to its own anti-corruption resolutions and ethics.

The African National Congress (ANC) has come under scrutiny for its decision to appoint Zizi Kodwa, a former Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, as a Member of Parliament (MP), despite his ongoing criminal charges. Kodwa, who is accused of accepting R1.6 million in bribes, is expected to be sworn in by National Assembly Speaker Thoko Didiza.

This move appears to contradict the ANC’s own resolutions that members facing corruption allegations or charges should present themselves before the Integrity Commission, step aside voluntarily if indicted, and resign if convicted. Members under such scrutiny are also prohibited from standing for election in leadership positions or holding government roles, including ministerial positions, deputy minister roles, and positions in provincial legislatures and Parliament.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation as National Assembly Speaker and the removal of other senior members like former Secretary-General Ace Magashule, in line with the ANC’s step-aside rule, underscore the party’s stance on corruption. Despite these precedents, ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri confirmed that Kodwa will be sworn in, noting that he can only assume lesser roles while awaiting the court’s verdict.

“If the court rules in his favour, he will be eligible to take ministerial positions again, but if the court rules otherwise, he will have to step aside completely,” Bhengu-Motsiri explained.

Kodwa, listed as number 25 on the ANC’s national list to Parliament, was not among the newly elected representatives who took the oath of office in the first National Assembly sitting about ten days ago. He resigned as a minister upon appearing in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court with his co-accused, former EOH boss Jehan Mackay.

Political analyst and University of KwaZulu-Natal lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu criticized the ANC’s decision, highlighting the ethical implications and the party’s ongoing renewal and self-correction efforts. Ndlovu emphasized that although Kodwa has not been found guilty, the charges against him cast a shadow over his appointment.

“The ANC is sending a mixed message about its commitment to combating corruption and self-correcting,” Ndlovu said. “While it is within the ANC’s discretion to decide on its parliamentary representatives, this decision undermines public confidence in the party’s promises of ethical leadership.”

Ndlovu also pointed out that although Kodwa will serve as a backbencher without holding a leadership position in Parliament or the executive, the ANC’s decision has broader implications for its public image and credibility. By appointing Zizi Kodwa as an MP, the ANC navigates complex ethical and legal challenges, balancing its internal policies against the principles of justice and public perception. This decision will undoubtedly influence the party’s credibility and its broader campaign against corruption.

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