Explosive ANC cadre secrets exposed: What's next?

In accordance with a Constitutional Court order in the DA’s favour, the ANC was forced to release secret records that they have so desperately tried to keep hidden to cover up corruption and state capture.

The records the DA requested date all the way back to 2013 when President Ramaphosa chaired the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee. However, the ANC failed to comply and only provided records dating from 2018, which is why the DA has formally launched urgent contempt of court proceedings against ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula.

Find all ANC cadre deployment corruption documents provided so far by the ANC over here.

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How ANC cadre deployment works

The 1,300 pages of records exposed by the DA reveal how ANC cadre deployment works.

The ANC controls both the demand-side and the supply-side of senior administrative roles, SOEs, boards, entities, and independent state institutions.

It controls the supply side by building a database of loyal ANC cadres who are ready to take up high-paying positions in government as they become available. These cadres apply to the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee that sits at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. Their abridged CVs are uploaded to a so-called “Database List.” They are assigned a Database List number, ready to be deployed on decision of the Committee.

The ANC similarly manipulates the demand-side of appointments. No government department, SOE, parastatal, board or entity may advertise its vacancies before the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee decides who from the ANC should be favoured for those roles. The cadre records are littered with very specific commands to Ministers in the Cabinet, and to the President himself, that no adverts may go out until the ANC has chosen their preferred cadre for the job.

The “Database List”

The existence of this “Database List” containing hundreds of names of ANC cadres to be favoured for appointment, is a major new “smoking gun” revelation out of the cadre records.

The database works like a Takealot for ANC cadres. When a vacancy arises, the Committee will pick a name from the list, and on they go for delivery into a high-paying government role.

In ranking the database, the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee considers loyalty to the ANC above all else. In fact, there is even a ranking of loyalty that determines how soon a cadre should be deployed to a high-paying government role. The true Cadre of the Movement is the fastest to be a deployed – an ANC member and long-standing activist.

The Database List we received, which is seemingly out of date, has 46 such persons at the highest rank, ready for deployment.

When a position is to be filled and no “true Cadres of the Movement” are available for a role, the next up for deployment would be an ordinary ANC member. The Committee often scrambles to find an appropriate person.

If no ANC members are available, the Committee would look at ANC supporters or sympathizers.

And finally, regardless of the need for skills, experience, or excellence, only fourth to be considered for a government role would be a person who is called “Non-ANC Member.”

This ranking based on loyalty to the party, ensures that ANC people are always preferred above skilled but non-political applicants. It is “a system to ensure the best position for every ANC person, not the best person for every position.”

Entities and departments affected

We now turn to our analysis of the entities and departments affected by cadre deployment, as reflected in the records.

Here are some examples:

  1. State-owned Enterprises (SOEs)

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry found that cadre deployment was a primary driver of state capture and the subsequent collapse of state-owned enterprises.

Yet, despite the Commission’s findings, the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee is still actively pursuing this discredited practice. As recent as 22 February 2024, ANC SG Mbalula defended the practice on live television.

Between 2018 and 2020, the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee has directly interfered, 12 times, in the appointment of SOE boards and CEOs.

  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with Transnet board appointments in 2018: Transnet performance has progressively deteriorated since 2018 – ranging from port congestion and a collapse in freight rail infrastructure. In November 2023, the Transnet Board indicated that they had submitted a R100-billion bailout for the entity.
  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with Denel board appointments in 2018: According to a presentation made by Denel executives in Parliament 2023, the entity was essentially insolvent from 2019 to 2022 inclusive.
  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with SAPO Board and Executive appointments from 2019 – 2020: Due to relentless political interference in CEO and Board appointments at the SA Post office between 2019 and 2021, corporate governance outcomes deteriorated markedly. In 2021, the AG found SAPO to be commercially and technically insolvent. For the financial statements for 2021-2022, the AG stated that they were unable to gather enough pertinent audit evidence which would have served as a foundation for an audit opinion.
  • January 2020: CEO of Armscor
  • September 2020: Board of Armscor
  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with PRASA board appointments between 2019 – 2020: While the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee was pushing its deployment agenda at PRASA between 2019 and 2020, the entity’s operational performance went into a nosedive.
  • November 2020: Eskom Board
  • November 2020: SAA Board
  1. Water boards

South Africa is currently in the grip of a severe water crisis, which can be traced back to dysfunctional water boards.

Since 2018, the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee:

  • Interfered with the appointment of the Randwater CEO in 2019 (Sipho Mosai was appointed as the CEO): Poor management of water reticulation infrastructure by Rand Water has caused massive water shortages in Gauteng that have left some residents without water for over a month. The Auditor General placed the blame squarely on pipeline leakages, which were a major cause for water losses.
  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with the appointments of water boards of Nkomati, Bloemfontein, TransCaledon, Overberg, Magaliesburg Water and others
  • May 2020: Interim Boards of Lepelle Northern, Magalies and Sedibeng Water
  • The ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee interfered with the appointment of the Amatole Water Board between 2020 – 2021: The ANC cadre deployment committee was actively involved in the appointment of Amatole Water Board members between 2020 and 2021.
  1. Directors-general

Between 2018 and 2020, the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee repeatedly took charge of the appointment of directors-general across government departments.

This is despite the fact that the Zondo Commission had found that the governing party’s deployment policy was counter to the values of a professional and independent civil service as envisaged in the Constitution.

Over the past year, wasteful expenditure to the value of R40 billion has been incurred by ANC national departments under the control of these directors-general.

On the DG posts that were directly influenced by the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee since 2018, some key developments which can be seen in the documents are as follows:

  • October 2019: DG, Women, Youth and Persons with disabilities
  • January 2020: DG, National School of Governance
  • March 2020: DG of CoGTA
  • May 2020: DG, GCIS
  • June 2020: DG, Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
  • July 2020: DG, Justice and Constitutional Development
  • August 2020: DG, CoGTA
  • August 2020: DG, Military Veterans and Department of Defence
  • August 2020: DG, Communications and Digital Communications
  • August 2020: DG, Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries
  • August 2020: DG, Communications
  • October 2020: DG, Constitutional Development
  • November 2020: DG, Communications
  • 2020: DG, Home Affairs

The smoking guns

In addition to the sheer extent of interference in public sector appointments, the records reveal the following smoking gun instances of serious transgressions:

  1. Cyril Ramaphosa appears before the Committee on 26 June 2020
    • He appears in the minutes as being aware of Committee process.
    • He appologises to the Committee for making appointments without the Committee.
  2. The Committee chastises a Minister for not completing the Committee process before advertising senior vacancies, on 20 January 2020
    • Minister is admonished to bring vacancies to Committee before advertising them.
  3. Four candidates for a COGTA DG position had to make presentations to the ANC Committee before shortlisting began, on 13 April 2020.
  4. A DG is chosen by the ANC Committee, before the official process, on 14 October 2019 – and the Committee decides that the DG to be appointed can be “outside the list of applicants.”
  5. A Minister in the Presidency writes to the ANC’s Cadre Deployment Committee on the Ministerial letterhead to “plead” to the Committee to support the candidates which emerge from the process in Parliament to appoint members to the ICASA board, on [redacted date] but before Aug 2020.
  6. The SG writes to all deployed comrades that all vacancies must be reported to the ANC before being advertised, for ANC cadres on the database to apply first. No appointment may go to cabinet without Committee approval.
  7. The Committee is “hesitant about putting things in writing” – WhatsApp, 17 Aug 2020

What is missing?

The following information is missing from these records.

If the ANC does not fill in these gaps by 24 February 2024, the DA will take them back to court for contempt.

  1. Minutes missing for specific meetings:
  2. Pre-March 2018: Cyril Ramaphosa’s tenure
  3. 21 May 2018
  4. 06 Aug 2018
  5. March – August 2019
  6. 12 Nov 2019
  7. 16 June 2020
  8. Redactions all over
  9. WhatsApps are unusable without names and numbers
  10. Supplied emails didn’t include their attachments
  11. Names were cut off the Database List

The pervasive redactions on crucial documents hinder our complete understanding, and we call for transparency in this process.

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