Disdain for its resolution ought to give rise to an interesting discussion at its next meeting
22 November 2020 – 18:16
The work of the reference group that produced the national anticorruption strategy has failed to take cognisance of the input of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC on the topic (“Cabinet adopts national anti-corruption strategy”, November 19).
On August 4 the NEC announced that it had called on the cabinet urgently to establish a permanent stand-alone, independent, single agency to “deal with” corruption. Nothing further has been heard in public about the resolution of the NEC.
The six pillars favoured in the strategy not only implicitly repudiate the NEC resolution, but the cabinet’s adoption of the strategy indicates that the resolution is being ignored, forgotten or perhaps wished away.
The reference group has persisted with the Zuma-era “multi-agency” approach, in which investigating corruption is the task of the police via its Hawks unit, while prosecution is done by the National Prosecuting Authority. Before Jacob Zuma blighted progress against the corrupt, the Scorpions embodied the “single agency” approach now favoured by the NEC.ADVERTISING
The Achilles heel of the Scorpions was their lack of security of tenure of office; as creatures of an ordinary statute they could be and were closed down by the simple majority Zuma commanded in parliament. The permanence the NEC desires is only legally achievable via a constitutional amendment that protects the corruption-busters’ security of office. Fiddling with ordinary statutes, as desired by the anticorrption strategy and now by cabinet, won’t work.
The NEC is the highest decision-making body in the ANC between conferences. The disdain for its resolution (and indeed for the rule of law and the decisions of the courts on the binding criteria applicable to corruption-busters) ought to give rise to an interesting discussion at its next meeting as cabinet is well represented in its ranks.
If the NEC does not prevail on this issue, not only will effective corruption busting be hugely prejudiced, but all efforts to raise urgently required decent new investment in SA will fail.
Paul Hoffman SC