I am a big fan of the Zondo Commission and I believe that it is doing a vital job for this country. Whenever I say this, I am usually met with the same lines: “But, nobody is going to go to jail” or “Just a colossal waste of money”. I admit that it is hard to explain the South African condition. The corruption is there for all to see yet the police and the ruling party do nothing about it; and to top it all, the electorate keep on voting them in! Why do I think that the Zondo Commission will make a difference?
The Loss of Innocence
No South African, especially a politician, can ever again deny that corruption exists. For the next generation or more, ANC politicians will be asked why they did nothing to stop the corruption that was so visible to the rest of the country. Having a sceptical voter moves any political party one step closer to losing that vote. This has not been good for that mother of most of our problems, the ANC.
BEE Is the Gateway to Corruption
The Zondo Commission has proven just what a bad idea BEE has become. Every act of corruption requires a corruptor and a corruptee, and when tenderpreneurs are brought on board adding no value other than their political connections, the outcomes are predictable.
Our Political System Is Unfit For Purpose
Our country is run using a party list system and this has created an accountability crisis. Under this system, every politician owes their allegiance to the party and not to the citizens of the country. No member of parliament is going to hold their own colleagues to account lest they be labelled as a trouble maker. As the saying goes, Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and this is how Zuma got away with the State Capture project. Before we all get too high and mighty, which of us has found the courage to report our own bosses in any company for bad behaviour? This is a universal problem that transcends politics, just ask Donald Trump.
We Live in a Constitutional Democracy (For Now)
It was painfully obvious when listening to the ramblings of Jacob Zuma (when he did appear at the commission), Gwede Mantashe as well as other geniuses like Nomvula Mokonyane and many other senior ANC members, that they don’t quite understand that was signed up for in 1994. We live in a constitutional democracy not a parliamentary democracy. In the former, the rule of law is supreme and in the latter what parliament says, goes. It seems obvious that these intellectual lightweights think that, like in the old South Africa, parliament had the right to change the law willy-nilly. Bad luck, you should have read the small print before you signed the contract!
The Quality of Your People Matter
Most of the problems were caused by people who had no right to be in their positions in the first place. When you elect a President with a primary school education, it has real implications. Similarly for Cabinet Ministers and school teachers heading up national airlines.
Even The President Must Have Oversight
The South African constitution was written with Nelson Mandela in mind, not Jacob Zuma. There is no method to reign in a rogue president other than votes of no confidence and when these are proposed, no ruling party will support it. We get back to the problem of the party list system. Our system has to be re-imagined with President Malema in mind. Nowhere is this lack of accountability better illustrated than President Ramaphosa never giving interviews or taking questions in parliament as he grows “The Office in The Presidency” ever larger without any checks and balances in place.
We cannot be blind to the fact that South Africa has been the land of commissions that have done an enormous amount of work, only for the conclusions to never see the light of day. I am going to say those very dangerous words “this time it will be different”! I think that the profile, cost and revelations of The Zondo Commission have been too big to ignore. The ANC will try to cherry-pick which issues they would like to deal with but I believe that thanks to Covid 19 and Eskom; the greater public will be a great deal less accommodating than before.
I can’t wait to see the final report and recommendations.