The Democratic Alliance (DA) can announce that we will be taking on the African National Congress (ANC) about its corrupt cadre deployment policy in court once again on Monday, 30 January. This will be as part of the DA’s ongoing effort to ensure transparency over the role played by cadre deployment in promoting state capture, corruption and service delivery collapse. Through this case, the DA aims to obtain and expose complete records and minutes from the ANC’s cadre deployment committee dating back to 1 January 2013, when President Cyril Ramaphosa became its chairperson.
This case, which will be heard in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday, has taken on new significance following the oral evidence presented by the ANC this past Monday and Tuesday as part of the DA’s separate application to declare cadre deployment unconstitutional. During that earlier hearing, the ANC argued that cadre deployment constitutes “free speech.” Yet the absurd nature of this claim is belied by the fact that every single decision ever taken by the ANC’s cadre deployment committee is a closely-guarded secret.
If cadre deployment were truly a matter of free speech, why is the ANC opposing the DA’s court case to make public full and complete records of all the decisions made by the deployment committee? If cadre deployment is not corrupt, why is the ANC so desperate to hide the facts about it from the people of South Africa?
This genesis of this case lies in a request that the DA directed to the ANC in February last year in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). The PAIA Act makes it clear that “a requester must be given access to any record of a private body if that record is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.” In the DA’s original application, we provided a detailed outline of the way in which ANC cadre deployment violates the constitutional right to equality by preferencing loyal ANC cadres for jobs in the public sector. We also outlined how cadre deployment corruption infringes on a range of other rights by destroying capacity in the public sector.
Despite now opportunistically claiming that cadre deployment somehow constitutes “free speech,” the ANC has been hellbent on keeping the records requested by the DA secret, leaving us with no choice but to approach the court to force the ANC to reveal full details of how cadre deployment promoted state capture while Ramaphosa was chairman of the committee.
If the ANC genuinely believes that cadre deployment is “free speech,” the DA invites it to drop its opposition to our PAIA case and provide us with the full and complete cadre deployment records we requested. Anything less would prove that its opposition to the DA’s war on cadre deployment is nothing less than desperate hypocrisy in defense of corruption.