People will call rulers to account, warns Tutu

2011-03-09 15:37

What is happening in North Africa should remind governments everywhere that people are not fools, they will call rulers to account.

This warning was addressed to the South African government by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, chancellor of the University of the Western Cape this afternoon.

Delivering the Annual Desmond Tutu Ecumenical Lecture at UWC’s Main Hall, Tutu said: “I am fond of our President Zuma. He is affable and warm.

“But I do believe it would have been better for him to have been pronounced innocent by a court of law weighing the evidence rather than through a dubious administrative act.”

He said the arms deal was “an unnecessary albatross”. “If indeed there is nothing to hide, the government surely has nothing to fear from a judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal ...

“Our country with such tremendous potential is going to be dragged backwards and downwards by corruption which in some instances is quite blatant."

He added: “It may be that there is really nothing to worry about with the parole of (Schabir) Shaik but it must raise eyebrows when someone who was said to be at death’s door is shown playing golf.

“It is worrying when his close relationship to the President is put in juxtaposition,” said Tutu.

“Perhaps the Gupta family would make all those lucrative deals and it is merely coincidental that the President’s son is a beneficiary”, he said.

“It may all be above board but it is worrisome. I am sure it is all in order but it is disturbing that there are these seeming coincidences.”

Tutu pointed out the the people were not fools.

“They notice things and one day they will explode. “We have many competent people in this country, people of all races, people who would be snapped up in other countries, people who love this country passionately, people who were involved in the struggle, people who are today being sidelined because the first qualification is not ability, not calibre, but political affiliation”, he said.

In a way that was “as wrong as judging people by the colour of their skin”.

South Africa needed to revert to the well tried constituency system, Tutu said.

“And we need a vigilant and fearless media who have by and large served us well.”

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