Amid government paralysis, Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech at the anti-corruption symposium was underwhelming
On November 8, President Cyril Ramaphosa, unforgivably late as usual, opened the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council symposium on corruption in SA in jocular mood, as if he had been asked to say a few avuncular words at a cattle show or buffalo auction.
Given the centrality of successfully countering current levels of corruption to the future prosperity of the country, his performance was utterly underwhelming, more for what was not said than for what he somewhat tediously traversed.
The parlous situation in the country, racked as it is by state capture, “tenderpreneurism” and kleptocracy, is by now common cause — given the detailed exposition in the Zondo report. Reciting the tedious details again was superfluous. What the president did not cover in any way, shape or form was that his national cabinet:
- Is bound to implement the criteria-setting decisions of the Constitutional Court in the Glenister litigation properly and has not done so since 2011.
- Has been instructed by the national executive committee of the ANC to establish, urgently, a stand-alone, specialised and independent anti-corruption entity but has ignored its resolution that contains the instruction without explanation.
- Should by now have responded to the ever-increasing support given to the notion that the best-practice way of implementing the binding court judgment (and the resolution) is to establish a new anti-corruption commission under the protective architecture of chapter 9 of the constitution — a solution favoured by the DA, the IFP, civil society and faith-based formations, including Defend our Democracy, the Catholic Bishops Conference and the Anglican archbishop.
- Has miserably failed to protect and incentivise whistle-blowers.
The inference is irresistible that the president and his cabinet are engaged in kicking the can down the road for as long as possible rather than getting to grips with the need for action against the corrupt in high places, all the while paying lip service to the rule of law and the sanctity of binding court decisions. The paralysis in government is palpable.
Paul Hoffman SC
Director: Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa