18/07/2017 18:43 SAST | Updated 19/07/2017 07:52 SAST

Frank Chikane: State Capture Stooges Will Try To 'Steal' The 2019 Election

The reverend issued a stern warning to protagonists in the "project of state capture" that the game is over and South Africans will bring an end to their corruption.

Billions of rands have been siphoned from the country, then laundered back and used as part of a war chest to make sure the corrupt remain in power and can continue exploiting the country, Reverend Frank Chikane said at the closing of the Conference for the Future of South Africa on Tuesday.

In a warning to delegates of a potential battle over the credibility of the upcoming 2019 national election, Chikane said stolen public money is already being spent to ensure beneficiaries of state capture remain in positions of power.

"This project [of state capture] is going to make sure that the will of the people is not recognised. There are people already using the [stolen] money. They go from branch to branch of the ANC, buying branches in preparation for the December elective conference," he said during the conference's closing remarks at Rhema Church in Johannesburg.

Chikane said branches and individuals will continue to be bought and systems corrupted "to make sure the 2019 election is stolen".

Echoing other speakers at the Conference, with an estimated 130 civil society organisations in attendance according to Chikane, he said the 2019 election will be critical for the country. South Africans in the months to come have to ensure that any possibility of distorting the election in favour of the people who run this project [of state capture] is eliminated, he said.

'There is nowhere to hide, the game is over'

Chikane issued a stern warning to the protagonists and beneficiaries of state capture, saying their "game is over".

"Because they expected no resistance, they are so brazen and bold in their wrongdoing. Some have committed crimes without thinking one day they would be taken to court to account for their crimes while others didn't even think of covering up their tracks," he said.

Chikane said there is "no amount of ducking and diving, or defending the indefensible" that would halt a concerted effort at derailing the [state capture] 'project'. "No amount of threats against those opposed to this project will deter us," he said.

"They forget we stood against an apartheid system that had a military machine... they forget we won against all odds and we will win against all odds".

He said the gathering of civil society organisations and individuals from across party affiliations, including the ANC, was a "signal" that the "people of South African [can be] mobilised to stop the project and end the game".

He said those South Africans who find themselves implicated in state capture must "break ranks now and go public".

'If the ANC fails, South Africans must fix it'

It is members of the ANC, Chikane said, who ultimately have the greatest responsibility to solve this problem over anyone else.

He said he believes the majority of people in the ANC who are not beneficiaries of state capture and know it is wrong "have the capacity to stop it and can stop it if they decide to do so". He referred to veterans of the movement as an example whom he said are "taking a stand and won't accept this".

Referring to mechanisms of self-correction in the ANC, he said, "If the top six fails, the the National Executive Committee must deal with it. If this fails, the members of the organisation must deal with it... and there are many members who are committed and risking their lives dealing with it," he said.

If both of those avenues fail, the branches must solve the problem, he said. Ultimately, however, if the branches fail, "then that is the end of the ANC," he said. "It is a choice they must make themselves".

Chikane said South Africans would subsequently need to take a stand and "save the country" if the ANC fails.

"We have a responsibility as South Africans and... there are stages we must go through. If they go through one hurdle, we've got another one. If everything fails in the party, then next hurdle is the people of South Africa and I believe the people won't allow this [destruction] to happen," he said.

Chikane, in closing, also called on privileged members of society -- in particular "those with capital" -- not to solely defend the Constitution or rebuke state capture, but also focus on solving the "economic problem in the country".

"If we don't solve the economic problem, we will have instability anyway with a lovely constitution. We need to be clear that people become vulnerable because of economic conditions, and that people take radical positions to destabilise the system because of these conditions," he said.

Those who want peace and security in the country, he said, would have to come together with resources to ensure the Constitution is defended but also to translate constitutional principles into solving the crisis of poverty.