Cabinet has had the Accountability Now drafts since 2021, but has not yet reacted to the substance of the suggestions
It has been widely reported that during his speech to more than 1,000 delegates at the SA Investment Conference , President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that investor confidence in the country “has been tested” by rolling blackouts and the government’s inability to ease the crisis in the reliable supply of electricity over the past 16 years (“Cyril Ramaphosa urges investors to back investment drive despite power crisis”, April 13).
The president is describing a symptom of a greater problem, one that needs to be addressed if dire consequences are to be avoided. The inwardness of the problem is that the ANC-led governing alliance is tolerant of corruption with impunity on an enormous scale in SA. On its watch tender irregularities, state capture, grand corruption and kleptocracy have become the norm. Clinging to the last remnants of its “national democratic revolution” based ideology (chiefly through illegal cadre deployment) has not enhanced business confidence either.
It is the failure to put in place machinery of state that complies with the criteria laid down in binding fashion by the Constitutional Court in the Glenister litigation that frightens off new and continued investment in the economy of the country. The failure of government to comply wholeheartedly with the decisions of the court amount to holding it in contempt.
Unless and until urgent steps are taken by government to reform the capacity of the state to counter serious corruption, the dearth of business confidence will continue to put peace, progress and prosperity in SA in jeopardy.
There is no rocket science in what is required to restore confidence. In March parliament received representations from Accountability Now regarding the establishment of a new Chapter Nine body with a mandate to prevent, combat, investigate and prosecute serious corruption. The IFP has supported this initiative since at least 2019 and the DA has come round to the same way of thinking this year.
The political will to drive the initiative is lacking because cabinet is labouring under a false impression as to the meaning of the judgments that bind it. Any sensible legal advice will correct its misapprehension of the status of the majority judgment that binds it. Cabinet has had the Accountability Now drafts since 2021, but has not yet reacted to the substance of the suggestions made.
Paul Hoffman, SC