Media Statement: Equal Education writes to ANC Chief Whip calling for the withdrawal of education committee member Zizi Kodwa

Home | Media Statement: Equal Education writes to ANC Chief Whip calling for the withdrawal of education committee member Zizi Kodwa

Equal Education (EE) strongly condemns the nomination of corruption-accused Ncediso Goodenough “Zizi” Kodwa to serve as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. We have written to ANC Chief Whip Mdumiseni Ntuli to register our concerns and to call on the African National Congress (ANC) to immediately withdraw the nomination of Zizi Kodwa to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, and initiate the necessary processes to remove him as a member of parliament (MP). The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated, as Kodwa’s nomination is an insult to the learners in South Africa who rely on effective legislative oversight to guarantee the provision of quality education. 

The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education exercises fundamental functions in relation to the Department of Basic Education (DBE). Given its significant responsibilities in scrutinising the DBE’s strategic plan and overseeing the appropriate spending of the department’s budget, it is incomprehensible that an individual currently out on bail for corruption charges has been entrusted with this role. 

It would be an indictment on the ANC to overlook the significant scandal that has marred Kodwa’s career. He currently faces serious corruption charges relating to allegations that he received more than R1.7 million in bribes linked to influencing the awarding of government contracts. These charges raise grave concerns about his suitability for this role in the national legislature​. The importance of ethical governance and the highest levels of integrity cannot be overstated for a role that demands such commitment, as outlined in Parliament’s own Code of Ethical Conduct. 

In addition, the ANC’s step-aside resolution which was intended to address issues of corruption and maintain the integrity of the party is not achieving its main objective. The party’s 2022 “Terms and Conditions” document outlines the circumstances under which the step-aside resolution would apply. The resolution mandates that members facing serious allegations voluntarily step aside from positions of authority and ordinary public representatives such as MPs affected by the resolution be allowed to attend and vote in sittings of councils, parliament and its oversight committee meetings. However, it limits their participation to attendance and voting as they would not be allowed to speak on behalf of the ANC during such sittings. Kodwa’s position on the basic education committee raises serious concerns about the efficacy of this resolution and its impact on the credibility of parliamentary oversight roles.

In the context of the new Government of National Unity (GNU), where the new Minister of Basic Education is a deployee from the Democratic Alliance, the ANC holds significant oversight responsibilities. It is crucial that individuals fill these roles with unblemished records. This is especially important given that the heightened oversight duties demand a level of scrutiny and ethical governance that Kodwa’s record does not support.

In addition, the vast majority of the committee’s members, including the chairperson, are new to the education committee. Kodwa’s relative seniority, coupled with his tainted track record, risks exerting a negative influence on the committee. The importance of having members who are free from past ethical issues cannot be overstated, as they are role models for integrity and dedication to accountable public service.

When MPs are shrouded with a record of controversial behaviour, it not only shakes the public’s confidence in Parliament but also taints the very integrity of this institution. As such, we are convinced that Kodwa is unfit to exercise his mandate as a member of Parliament, and as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. 

As a youth-led social movement advocating for quality and equality in the public education system, we cannot stand by as the ANC appoints an individual whose actions undermine the very functions he is entrusted with as a member of such a critical committee in the National Assembly. We call on the ANC to act swiftly on this matter in the best interests of all members of the school community, and to uphold the integrity of legislative oversight. 

For further comment: 


Sesethu August ( Communication’s Officer)

Contact: 063 221 7983/ WhatsApp @ 0838908723