ANC and DA got rid of their anti-graft MPs, Themba Godi tells Zondo inquiry

SA's two biggest parties are paying lip service to fighting corruption, says former Scopa chair

01 February 2021 - 15:05
By mawande amashabalala AND Mawande AmaShabalala
Erstwhile Scopa chair Themba Godi testified at the Zondo commission on Monday. File photo.
Image: Robert Tshabalala Erstwhile Scopa chair Themba Godi testified at the Zondo commission on Monday. File photo.

Former chairperson of parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) Themba Godi believes the governing ANC and official opposition DA are paying lip service to corruption.

This because the parties failed to retain their “diligent” representatives in Scopa from the firth parliament.

According to Godi, all MPs who represented the ANC in Scopa in the 2014-2019 parliament were not retained for the current parliament. This while the DA also failed to retain its best member in the Scopa of the previous parliament.

Godi was testifying at the Zondo commission hearings on Monday.

He said politics was at the core of rendering oversight by parliament useless, especially since the ANC used its majority to bulldoze other parties.

“The political dynamics within the political party with the majority in the house would certainly determine how parliamentary work is done,” said Godi.

“And I can tell you that I have seen members of various political parties who would come to parliament with a political mandate on which stance to take - and reason and facts would not sway them otherwise. Many of our comrades in the house were very pliable and acted like useful idiots of the executive.”

If Godi is to be believed, his Scopa team was the best oversight committee in parliament with members who did not entertain political dynamics within their parties.

This, he said, was backed up by the fact that parliament never rejected any of their oversight reports on financial performance of national departments.

It was for this reason that Godi was certain that the ANC got rid of all of its Scopa members from the previous parliament because they were anti-corruption.

“Political parties must display seriousness to the question of oversight, especially the fight against corruption,” he said.

“Take the DA, they had a member there, Tim Brauteseth, who is a qualified forensics expert — and we used him a lot in Scopa and he did a lot of work to empower us as a committee. But after the elections [in 2019], the DA did not retain him.

“You look at the ANC, all Scopa members from the ANC were not returned to parliament. Here are your members who serve in the best committee in parliament and have shown diligence in fighting corruption and advocating for good governance and you feel they are not worthy of being retained.

“I know that always we will talk in the corridors that the stance that they were taking was going to have negative consequences for their political careers.”

The commission continues hearing evidence on parliamentary oversight flaws during the Jacob Zuma years.