Corruption was our downfall: Nxesi

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Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi has stated that he is cannot say whether more upgrades would be necessary to the Nkandla homestead on Wednesday, 20 April.

TSHWANE – Voters gave the African National Congress a rude awakening during the August 3, local government elections because of perceived and real corruption, the SA Communist Party deputy chairperson Thulas Nxesi said on Thursday.

“Today our movement is suffering because of slates. Our people are bitter and some do not vote. Whoever thought that one day we would lose Port Elizabeth where our volunteers were born? If you go to Soweto today, there is no mayor who has delivered like [former Johannesburg mayors] Amos Masondo and the follow-up by Parks Tau,” Nxesi told the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Youth Structure’s elective conference in Pretoria.

“What lack of service delivery made our people to not vote for us? No. It is because of corruption. The worst part was to have the Economic Freedom Fighters, whose leader is corrupt, saying the ANC is corrupt. When they were campaigning, the DA repeatedly said the ANC equals corruption. Many people believed it. And indeed we have seen this corruption in some areas.”

Nxesi said that after the humiliation at polls, ANC leaders should not “hide their heads in the sand”. He said factionalism was another factor eroding the governing party and its allies.

“Look at what is going on in the ANC. Look at what is going on in the other unions. Look at our performance at the elections. We have lost some of the areas because of factionalism. Some of our voters have decided to take a back seat,” said Nxesi.

“This is because of factional battles which are based on greed. It’s no longer about leading a union or leading the ANC. It is about getting the powerful position, then having access to the resources and start giving to friends and relatives.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Government's war on corruption in state departments

Nxesi said while the ANC and allies are distracted and tearing each other apart, the employers in the mining sector are “working with the opposition” Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) while decimating the NUM.

“As young workers you have a choice now, to resolve and go very strongly, focusing on development programmes of the NUM. Reclaim the space which has been lost to Amcu. Reclaim that space and consolidate NUM. The consequences of NUM going down are so disastrous to the whole national democratic revolution,” said Nxesi.

The public works minister said the deep divisions currently characterising the trade union movement had their root in greed.

He said the use of state machinery to fight political gripes was not new phenomenon in South Africa.

“When JZ [President Jacob Zuma] was charged he was deputy president, and removed, it was Cosatu which said this was a political trial. Cosatu said we would not allow state institutions to be used to settle political differences. That was in 2005,” said Nxesi.

“This hasn’t started today. It’s been happening since many years ago. It was Cosatu, whose biggest union being NUM, which said we’re not going to agree to that. We said we were ready to take the government of that time head on, as Cosatu.”