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Ever since Cyril Ramaphosa took the presidential reigns from Jacob Zuma, the ANC have vowed to root out political corruption. So where does Tony Yengeni fit into all this?

As reported by eNCA, he’s a figure set to ruffle a few feathers.

Yengeni has been appointed as chair of a working group on crime and corruption for the party. This, despite previous convictions for fraud and a shady history with the arms deal that’s brought Jacob Zuma into a courthouse.

ANC defend their new head of crime and corruption

ANC Head of Policy Jeff Radebe had to step in and defend Yengeni on Monday, saying he had paid his dues to society and that corruption falls under his remit due to his standing in the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC):

“All the chairs of the working group are members of the NEC. Yes indeed he was found guilty and he served his sentence and paid his dues. The members of the ANC voted him in the NEC. That’s why he’s a member and chairperson of the peace and stability committee.”

Who is Tony Yengeni?

He spent his early life in Cape Town’s townships, living between Gugulethu and Nyanga. Yengeni became a member of the ANC’s armed wing and spent time in Botswana and Angola receiving military training.

He spent nine years as the secretary-general of the Western Cape’s ANC branch and as a party representative in Parliament before he was forced to resign in 2003.

Yengeni was found guilty of accepting a bribe on behalf of a security company looking to secure a tender for a billion-rand arms deal. He worked alongside the likes of Jacob Zuma and Schabir Shaik to try and get the project over the line.

The ANC stalwart was specifically charged with defrauding parliament by accepting a discount on a luxury car during the tendering process, while he was the member of a parliamentary committee reporting on the same deal.

How long was Tony Yengeni in jail for?

Eventually, Yengeni was given four years in Pollsmore Prison, yet he was released after serving just four months. His fraudulent activity also lead to him being sued and having to resign as the director of six different companies.

So there’s a reason why eyebrows have been raised at his appointment. If the ANC are looking to seriously pursue this “new dawn” of theirs, they’d do well to avoid ghosts of the past who have previously dragged their name through the mud.

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