South African civil society organisations have called for the removal of some ruling party officials from parliament after they were implicated in a report by a commission that investigated the extent of state capture in the country.
The organisations, which include Unite Behind, Defend Our Democracy and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, on Thursday demanded accountability for those mentioned in the report by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The groups want the South African parliament’s ethics committee to remove Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and other African National Congress (ANC) lawmakers from the legislature for their role in the scandal in which the government lost billions of dollars to syndicates linked to senior officials.
“The most critical thing that we will do now is that we will lay complaints before Parliament’s ethics committee,” Unite Behind’s Zackie Achmat told journalists on Thursday.
Mbalula is accused of corruption after he allegedly appointed one of his friends, Bongisizwe Mpondo, to run the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as an interim administrator after the minister dissolved the then PRASA board in December 2019.
It is alleged that the minister dissolved the board and put the passenger rail entity under administration after the former refused to appoint Mpondo as chief executive.
“We will also bring action against Fikile Mbalula because he wasn’t clean despite being a self-styled Mr Fix It,” Achmat said.
Achmat said other lawmakers the CSOs wanted removed from parliament are current PRASA chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi and former transport minister Joe Maswanganyi who was also implicated in the rail entity saga.
“We will also be handing over an affidavit to the ethics committee asking for the removal of Sfiso Buthelezi as the chair of Prasa,” Achmat said, describing Buthelezi as “probably the most corrupt MP in that Parliament.”
Buthelezi is accused of using his position to ensure that PRASA awards tenders to companies in which he has interests.
Achmat demanded that Buthelezi repays about R120 million (about US$7 million) allegedly paid to companies associated with him.