It is in the public’s interest that they should know how the ANC’s cadre deployment committee influences decisions and appointments by state entities or government functionaries.
So said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in a letter to the ANC on Friday, after the party complained that the commission had made minutes of its deployment committee public without prior warning.
Zondo stated in a letter from Professor Itumeleng Mosala, secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, to the ANC: l[In any event], given that the minutes of the deployment committee, which were furnished by the ANC to the commission, have already been made public on the commission’s website, there is no need for a decision to make or not make them public.
Mosala was responding to a letter from the ANC’s legal representatives in which the party apparently expressed dissatisfaction with the commission’s decision to publish top secret minutes of its cadre deployment committee.
City Press’ sister publication Rapport reported last week that, shortly before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appearance before the commission on August 11 and 12 last year, the ANC pleaded for prior warning should the commission decide to disclose the minutes of the deployment committee.
The party’s request was repeated in October. The ANC then hoped to get an interdict against the commission as soon as it heard that it intended to publish the minutes.
This was after the DA submitted a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain the minutes.
The commission ignored both the DA’s and ANC’s requests, and quietly uploaded the minutes to the commission’s website at the end of last month, under the dates of August 11 and 12, when Ramaphosa testified.
Leon Schreiber, the DA’s spokesperson on civil service and administration, drew attention to the minutes early this month.
The minutes of meetings between May 2018 and May last year show how the cadre deployment committee interfered in the appointment processes of at least 88 state institutions.
These included the appointments of at least three judges currently serving in the Constitutional Court, as well as appointments to the boards of SANParks, Seda, Transnet, Denel, SAA, Safcol, Airports Company SA and Sanral, among other entities.
Deputy President David Mabuza is currently chairing the ANC’s deployment committee, a position that the ANC deputy president has historically held.
Schreiber said Zondo’s latest comments could have major implications for his party’s application to the Supreme Court to gain access to the committee’s minutes between 2012 and 2017, when Ramaphosa chaired the committee.
“This ruling by Judge Zondo confirms not only the validity of the DA’s efforts to expose cadre deployment before the commission, but also that our court case against the ANC is of the utmost public interest,” said Schreiber.
Ramaphosa testified before the Zondo commission that the minutes of the committee meetings between 2012 and 2017 “do not exist”.
This allegation was not in line with the minutes of 2018’s first meeting, which indicated that “minutes of the previous meeting were accepted”.
For months, the ANC has been unwilling to answer Rapport’s questions on this matter.
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe warned during a summit of the SA Youth Economic Council last week that, in its forthcoming reports, the Zondo commission could launch “vicious attacks” on the cadre deployment committee.
Last weekend, the ANC’s national executive committee announced the appointment of an internal task team to lead the party’s response to the findings of the commission.
Former minister Jeff Radebe, policy chief of the ANC, will lead the task force, which includes Joel Netshitenzhe, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and Lindiwe Maseko.
Netshitenzhe is widely regarded as the architect of cadre deployment.
He was a co-author of a tripartite alliance discussion document that appeared in the ANC magazine Umrabulo in October 1998.
The document stated: The transformation of the state entails, first of all, that the power of the national liberation movement be extended to all levels of power: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, semi-state institutions; and agencies such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank, and so on.
Schreiber said that expecting Netshitenzhe to implement the commission’s recommendations on cadre deployments was “like appointing a fox to stop the theft of sheep”.