State capture: 'People need to go to jail'

2018-11-16 16:07

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Last year, while doing research about state capture and its impact on government, I sat down with Lungisa Fuzile, who had just departed National Treasury as director-general.

He had been through a torrid couple of months with the dramatic sacking of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and the subsequent breaching of National Treasury’s defences. Things looked dire and the Zupta elite was seemingly in supreme command of the political environment.

“Things can change very quickly and things aren’t as bad as they seem,” said Fuzile, who has since been appointed CEO of Standard Bank South Africa. 

It was quite a remarkable comment from someone who was clearly aware of exactly how bad things were and what damage could be wrought on the country’s fiscus with the wrong men in charge.

But Fuzile’s explanation was simple: there are still many good men and women across the public sector who truly believe in their civic duty. And when the tide changes, which it inevitably would, he said it is possible to restore trust in the state if two things were to happen.

First, you need to appoint the right people in the right positions…NPA, SARS, Treasury, intelligence, he said. And then, and this is important, he emphasised: people need to go to jail. Fuzile’s argument was that institutions take their lead from its leadership, and when it has a principled leader it can be turned around. 

But further: there needs to be visible accountability. Those that were part of the project need to be interrogated and they need to be imprisoned for their deeds. And it doesn’t help that the feet of some mid-level bureaucrat is held to the fire when it should be the principals that should be taken to task.

Read more analysis:

State capture: Who will go to jail first?

The tide in our law enforcement and prosecuting authorities has turned. Advocate Godfrey Lebeya is starting to fix things at the Hawks. The NPA's time is coming soon with the appointment – hopefully – of a principled, fearless leader. There is certainly no lack of evidence. So who will go to jail first? asks Adriaan Basson.

Why the NPA must act now on revelations to Zondo commission

Instituting a series of prosecutions sooner rather than later deals a powerful blow to impunity, signalling that nobody is above the law. Prosecuting politicians and their collaborators send a strong message that nobody is above the law.  Such a message is sorely needed in South Africa, writes Penelope Andrews.

Hogan's evidence a siren call to Zuma

The most disturbing revelation of Barbara Hogan’s testimony during her second day on the witness stand at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday must have been her evidence on how former president Jacob Zuma blatantly interfered in the operations of Eskom, writes Pieter du Toit.


Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  state capture commission
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