South Africans owe Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and his team a great deal of gratitude for their thorough inquiry into the allegations of state capture.
The damning revelations in Zondo’s reports have confirmed the public’s fears that the level of graft was worst than what they anticipated. It is hoped that these reports will not end up gathering dust in some office, like those produced after numerous other commissions of inquiry that this country has seen since the advent of its democracy in 1994. This has eroded citizens’ trust in government as it allowed complicit parties to get away with their crimes while depriving their victims of the justice they sought.
The unfortunate part is that South Africans must now put their faith in the same ANC-led government, whose leaders “permitted, supported and enabled corruption and state capture”, to implement Zondo’s recommendations. But maybe President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet will prove everyone wrong and there will be some accountability at the end of it all.
Ramaphosa’s credibility as the leader, and his prospects for re-election at the ANC’s national elective conference in December, also hinge on how he deals with Zondo’s findings on his party’s policy of cadre deployment. The chief justice found that the policy is “unlawful and unconstitutional” as it is tantamount to unfair labour practice to appoint or promote people based on the ANC’s deployment committee’s preferences. It remains to be seen whether the president will choose what’s best for the country over his comrades when it comes to deployments.
South Africans now expect to see heads rolling and there must be no holy cows when it comes to accountability and consequence management. The National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks have to do their part and follow up on all state-capture matters that have criminal implications. The culprits must also be legally forced to pay back taxpayers’ money so that those funds can be used for what they were initially intended, which is delivering services to the people.