Q&A with ANC political school principal David Masondo
President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched an ANC political school to teach ethics and integrity to party members. Chris Barron asked him ...
Is this a consequence of stuff about the ANC that’s been coming out?
Allegations about state capture and Bosasa and the need to cleanup the party’s image?
It ’s part of the renewal of the ANC, but it’s a continuation of a tradition of political education.
Not an election stunt to pretend the ANC is serious about integrity?
No, it’s been long coming.
So why announce it just weeks before the election?
The ANC does its work whether there ’s elections or not.
Who are you going to be teaching integrity to?
The core target group is ANC members and leaders.
And those on the candidates’ list?
Yes. Public representatives at all levels.
Will Ace Magashule be a guest lecturer?
No officials or leaders of the ANC will be guest lecturers.
Almost all of them will be students themselves.
Is it important to have role models if you’re teaching integrity?
Yes, of course. The school itself is named after OR Tambo, who is one of our role models. Then you’ve also got Mandela and many other people.
Do you have any contemporary role models?
I wouldn’t want to focus on the living because the living are fallible.
Is it difficult if you have an ANC school that can’t use the party’s top official as a role model for the values you want to teach?
Like I said, everyone including the top officials and members of the NEC are going to be students. When we have that course on integrity all of them go through it.
What do you say to students who ask why people with no integrity are on the party’s candidates’ list?
We are saying that things are done in a certain way in the ANC, and if you violate our integrity there is an integrity committee that deals with that, and therefore you will be required to step down.
Have you seen that happening?
It has made its determination on who is qualified to represent the ANC and who is not.
If the integrity committee had been doing its job properly would your school be necessary?
Yes, because what we’re trying to do as a school is target members so they can elect leaders with integrity and hold them accountable.
Can you teach members not to steal if they don’t see any consequences?
There are consequences.
If they see people implicated in corruption occupying top positions in the party?
The terms of reference of our integrity commission are quite clear. That if you are found to be corrupt, because we need to distinguish between allegations and actual findings …
Will it make your job harder if they don’t see consequences?
If that happens I’ll be worried that the school is not achieving its objective.