Home South African ANC defends Zizi Kodwa’s swearing-in as MP

ANC defends Zizi Kodwa’s swearing-in as MP

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The ANC has defended the decision to deploy criminally-charged former Sport, Arts and Culture minister Zizi Kodwa, who is expected to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament on Tuesday.

Former Sport, Arts and Culture minister Zizi Kodwa is set to be sworn in as an MP on Tuesday. Picture: Itumeleng English, Independent Newspapers

THE ANC has defended the decision to deploy criminally-charged former Sport, Arts and Culture minister Zizi Kodwa, who is expected to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament on Tuesday.

The move appears to be at odds with its own resolution that ANC members facing allegations or charges of corruption should appear before the Integrity Commission, step aside voluntarily if indicted and resign if convicted.

Those charged are prohibited from standing for election in any leadership position and cannot hold government positions as ministers, deputy ministers and MECs.

They are also not supposed to hold positions in Parliament or provincial legislatures, including chairpersons of portfolio committees.

The affected members can attend sittings and portfolio committees, but can’t speak on behalf of the ANC except to vote.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stepped down as National Assembly Speaker after being criminally charged. Other senior members removed through the ANC’s step-aside rule include ex-secretary-general Ace Magashule.

Kodwa is facing charges in connection with allegations that he received R1.6 million in bribes.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri confirmed on Monday that Kodwa will be sworn in by new National Assembly Speaker Thoko Didiza.

Bhengu-Motsiri said Kodwa could only be given lesser roles while he was waiting for the court decision on whether he was guilty or innocent.

“If the court rules in his favour, he will be eligible to take the ministerial positions again, but if the court rules otherwise, then he will have to step aside completely,” she said.

Kodwa, who is number 25 on the ANC’s national list to Parliament, was not among the newly-elected public representatives that took the oath of office in the first sitting of the National Assembly about 10 days ago.

He stepped down as minister when he appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court alongside his co-accused, former EOH boss Jehan Mackay.

At the time, Bhengu-Motsiri said the step-aside policy would kick in after he wrote to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula notifying him of his resignation and abiding by the step-aside rule.

Political analyst and University of KwaZulu-Natal political studies lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said the issue around Kodwa was touching on ethics and renewal programmes of the ANC.

“He is a member of the ANC and for a party that has been saying it is renewing itself and it will self-correct, this is not a good message to send,” Ndlovu said. “Although he has not been found guilty, there is a cloud hanging over his head.”

Ndlovu also said that while it was up to the discretion of the ANC to decide who it sends to Parliament, “it is projecting an image of a party that is not serious about what it says and promises to the people, especially on self-correction”.

“When it comes to leadership we expect our leaders to be very ethical and I think this is an expectation from South Africans.”

He noted, however, that Kodwa would be a back bencher who would not hold any leadership position in Parliament and the executive.

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