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Suspended ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has 'no regrets' despite threats

30 January 2022 - 16:05
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks says he has no regrets. File image
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks says he has no regrets. File image
Image: People's Assembly

Controversial ANC MP Mervyn Dirks says he has no regrets over his decision to call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to account in parliament for remarks he allegedly made in a leaked audio clip about the misuse of public funds for internal party leadership campaigns in 2017.

This, says Dirks, is despite him now receiving threatening messages. 

Dirks, who has since been put on precautionary suspension and is facing disciplinary action, says he is encouraged by the role of the media after parliament’s watchdog, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), wrote to Ramaphosa requesting information about alleged misuse of public funds for party political purposes. 

“I wish to emphasise that I do not regret the action I took weeks ago. I am encouraging the media to vigorously analyse and report on the work of parliament, the executive and judiciary without fear or favour. Importantly, the media must continue to hold these important arms of the state accountable,” he said.

Dirks has also lodged an official complaint with the public protector.

“I am nursing a hope that the public protector will investigate this matter without fear or favour,” he said.

Public protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed receiving a complaint that Ramaphosa has allegedly breached the executive code of ethics. 

Dirks has been heavily critised by the party with the NEC rallying behind Ramaphosa. Speculation is rife that his political career has ended.

Responding to this, Dirks said:” I am not worried about what has been described by some as an abrupt end to my political career. As an elected public representative, I remain determined to expose the rot in any sphere of government as empowered by the constitution of this country.

“I am determined to see this matter to its conclusion and I reiterate my position that I will never abdicate my responsibilities bestowed on me by the general members of society who voted the ANC into power.”

Dirks' bid to challenge his suspension on an urgent basis failed. He slammed the party’s working committee.

“Ramaphosa's campaign for presidency was steeped in fighting corruption. I find it worrying that the ANC working committee is threatening instituting disciplinary action against me for reporting and fighting corruption. Is that not hypocrisy?”

Dirks maintains his initial remarks that Ramaphosa might have breached the executive code of ethics by allegedly participating in a criminal act but argues that not all ANC leaders are cut from the same cloth.

“He must be held accountable for failing to report to law enforcement agencies the plundering of public funds. Despite the president's complicity, I wish to state that not all ANC leaders and members are corrupt.   

“The organisation has a clear policy on fighting fraud and corruption. I was guided by this policy when I raised my concerns before Scopa,” said Dirks.

Dirks conceded that the battle is far from over. This as he prepares to submit a complaint to parliament’s integrity committee.

“I want the committee to investigate the remarks of President Ramaphosa and other senior members who are sending threatening text messages to me. Some are even pointing out that I am in an 'inimitable career limiting trajectory'."

Dirks said he was indebted to those who put him in power. 

“The people of this country expect all of us as elected public representatives to use parliament and the government as tools for transformation. In this regard, we are expected to account for every cent spent on their behalf.”

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