LETTER: Lamola should seize the chance to demonstrate his statesmanship

by | Mar 4, 2022 | General | 0 comments

01 March 2022 – 17:30 https://spkt.io/e/3724508 Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola.

Justice minister Ronald Lamola may or may not aspire to higher office in the ANC and government, although his track record reveals a commendably brave anti-Zuma stance as long ago as 2016, when it was not fashionable in the ANC (“Prosecutions must follow Zondo report to affirm rule of law”, February 27).

He has a personal commitment to constitutionalism and the rule of law. He is a lawyer by training and the youngest member of the Ramaphosa cabinet. His statements reveal that he is interested in statecraft and in reform of the criminal justice administration.

Lamola supports the resolution of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC taken in August 2020 in which cabinet was instructed to get its act together urgently to counter corruption. Yet none of the sensible and legally sound actions required by the resolution has been taken.

As a lawyer, Lamola surely knows that government is bound by the decisions of our highest court in the Glenister litigation. He also knows, indeed it is common knowledge, that the government does not comply with the “Stirs” criteria the law expects of the criminal justice administration’s corruption-busting capacity.

Its track record, going back to the demise of the Scorpions and their inadequate substitution, is lamentable. Lamola wisely recognises the weaknesses of the National Prosecuting Authority, its hollowing out during state capture and the continued presence of saboteurs in its ranks.

He is also surely aware of the inadequacy of the dispensation for whistle-blowers in SA and of moves in the ranks of the parliamentary opposition to put meat on the bones of the ANC 2020 resolution, which envisages the much-needed reforms pertaining to corruption busting.

Yet since August 2021 Lamola has sat on suggested draft legislation from Accountability Now that addresses:

  • the reform of the NPA to render it properly independent,
  • the establishment of the type of body the NEC asked for “urgently” in 2020, and
  • the improvement of the lot of whistle-blowers.

By advocating and tweaking these reforms, which will see efficiency and effectiveness reintroduced, and by stepping away from his constitutional “final responsibility” over the NPA to give it greater independence, Lamola could demonstrate his statesmanship, help end SA’s culture of corruption with impunity, and enhance his career as a leader who walks the walk he talks.

Paul Hoffman, SC, Accountability Now

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