DEAL WITH THE ALLEDGED CORRUPTION COMING OUT OF THE ZONDO COMMISSION DECISVELY
Comment by Pastor Ray
So depressing and so shocking have the revelations of alleged state capture made by Angelo Agrizzi before the Zondo Commission that one wishes it was all a bad dream.
But it is national catharsis, a purgation of some kind that we must go through. For a long time, there have been whispers of serious corruption and state capture but we had no idea how far or how deep it went. Indeed, the concept of state capture was confined to one family – the Guptas. Agrizzi is telling the nation: it goes beyond the Guptas.
I suspect it goes even far beyond Bosasa and Gavin Watson. Some of it may look like genuine business practice but when one scratches beneath the surface a lot of rot may come out.
Yes, the credibility of Agrizzi as a witness has yet to be tested and his evidence cross-examined by the implicated parties, but what he has so far revealed should tell us the dismissal of corruption and/or state capture as non-existent can no longer carry the day. Such dismissal will be at odds with a resurgent nation where aspirations – social and political, cultural and spiritual – are coalescing to say enough is enough.
What Agrizzi’s testimony has exposed to broad daylight is the failure of the ruling establishment to hold each other accountable. Elected representatives, especially of the ruling party, should have confronted this scourge or each other before matters reached this level. But when everybody is on the take holding each other accountable may not be fashionable.
When allegations of state capture were first made and the name of the then ANC president Jacob Zuma mentioned, the ruling party’s response was tepid and tardy, to say the least. It thought its fortunes were inextricably linked to those of Zuma the person. It took some time before the ruling party came to the posture it is projecting today – that whoever in the party benefited from the largesse of allegedly corrupt businessmen did so in their personal capacities and should face the music as such.
There appears to be a consensus within the ruling party – which resonates with the public – that the revelations coming out before the Zondo Commission should be followed by swift and effective police investigation leading to arrests, prosecutions, rapid convictions and the earliest possible implementation of the sentences. But whether the government, and by implication the ruling party, can summon the political will to follow through is another matter.
The Commission and its recommendations are bound to be a long-drawn process. For starters, the implicated parties are going to marshal all the legal resources they can to stay out of jail. But a beginning has to be made in right earnest. One hugely effective way to do that would be to set an example of the wealthy, influential and powerful.
Cases of alleged corruption and state capture involving the elected representatives of the people, bureaucrats and sundry businessmen must be seen for what they are: a blot on the liberation struggle which was so gallantly fought by many fallen heroes, on our democracy, on our republic. These cases must be prosecuted for the national catharsis to be complete. Otherwise the Zondo Commission would have been a waste of time and resources. We have to been seen to be acting on corruption and we have to give substance to what we are saying otherwise it will be just empty words
The trouble with the ruling establishment in our country is that it is unable or unwilling to read the writing on the wall. And what is written
on the wall is simply this: we have had it with corruption, do not amass wealth, acquire power and use it at the expense of the citizens. Do not take us as citizens for granted.
A failure to address this angst is bound to bestow us with dubious political leaders who will try to appropriate the anger and emotional upsurge of the people. The ultimate danger is that were one of those dubious leaders to rise to the ultimate office, the eclipsing of our democratic, secular, all-inclusive republic will become a reality. It happened in the United States of America.
Deal with the corruption and state capture decisively or risk it being used by populists to position themselves. It will also send the correct message and warning that corruption cannot be tolerated in our country from both in our public institutions and private sector, corruption is corruption it does not matter who does it.
If those who are in authority fail to act decisively we will again pay heavy price as country and it will not be a pleasant end results for South Africa Inc.
PASTOR RAY McCAULEY IS THE PRESIDENT OF RHEMA FAMILY CHURCHES AND CO-CHAIR OF NATIONAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS COUNCIL