THE African National Congress is set to establish its integrity committee in the next three months, with the power to ask members to "step aside" if they face damning allegations of improper conduct, the head of the subcommittee on organisational renewal, David Makhura, said on Thursday.
It is also tightening its internal constitution to include a provision for members who are convicted of fraud, corruption, money laundering, racketeering, soliciting or offering a bribe, or any other financial crime, to be subject to internal party discipline.
The party image has been tarnished by errant members in the state who face corruption or fraud allegations, notable examples of whom include former national executive committee member Tony Yengeni.
Yengeni, who was the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament at the time, was convicted in 2003 after he failed to disclose a 47% discount on a luxury car from Daimler-Benz Aerospace, which had an interest in South Africa’s arms acquisition deal at the time.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, at a media briefing on Thursday, told journalists that the party was "broadening the scope" of Rule 25 of its constitution dealing with discipline.
If members are found guilty in a court of law, they will also be subjected to internal party discipline or appear before the newly established integrity committee.
"We have sharpened that," he said.
The sanction for the transgression would be expulsion, the party said.
Previously, the party constitution did not specifically point out financial crimes, but dealt broadly with "serious nonpolitical crime".
Another addition is that party members will be disciplined for transgressions not only within the party but also based on their deployment in the state.
The party is cracking the whip on poor discipline after it emerged as a key challenge under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma in his first term as party president.
Former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC after a protracted internal disciplinary process. Former youth league secretary Sindiso Magaqa and league spokesman Floyd Shivambu were both suspended from the party. The three sought to appeal to the national conference of the ANC currently under way in a bid to be reinstated as members. Their attempt failed.
Member of the organisational renewal subcommittee Febe Potgieter-Gqubule said there was a "robust debate" on the state of the youth league — which has not yet held an election to fill the posts left vacant by Mr Malema and Mr Magaqa.
"The NEC (national executive committee) has been given the mandate to urgently intervene and assess the state of the ANC Youth League," she said at a media briefing late on Tuesday night.
The matters to be addressed include the state of the league particularly in light of its leadership, as well as the manner in which it relates to the ANC.
The relationship between the ANC and its youth league has been turbulent in the past five years, with the young lions at the centre of the campaign to remove Mr Zuma and replace him with former party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.