Peer review signals alarm

2011-06-28 14:22

South Africa received the worst possible rating on several governance aspects in an independent peer review report released today.

The country’s police “force” and government’s handling of xenophobia, crime and corruption are some of the criticisms in the document entitled Implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM): Views from Civil Society.

President Jacob Zuma and Parliament also came under fire.

Under a category on protection of the media, it warns of threats to press freedom.

“Recommendations frequently appeal for better implementation of existing legislation, acknowledge the need for participatory governance, and many call on civil society to accept its share of responsibility,” reads a summary of the report.

It was released by the APRM monitoring project, which is jointly run by the SA Institute of International Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Africa Governance, Monitoring and Advocacy Project.

The report gives South Africa an “orange” rating in most categories, meaning that “some progress had been achieved on addressing the issue”.

The report calls for a judicial inquiry into “allegations of criminality, corruption, inappropriate political interference, nepotism and maladministration occurring within the SAPS”.

It warns that appeals by some politicians for the police to act forcefully against criminals were “tough, even unconstitutional rhetoric”.

“Temper the hard-line, militant rhetoric around crime, and emphasise the importance of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights in the Constitution,” it suggests.

It calls for crime statistics to be released more regularly, instead of just once a year.

Government received the worst possible rating, red, for “an element of denialism” about xenophobia, state-party separation and relationships, cadre deployment and politicisation of institutions and regulating private funding to political parties.

A red rating means “no progress has been achieved on addressing the issue; or very little progress has been achieved and the government does not seem to be on track to complete it in the near future”.

“The president should provide particular leadership in making party-state distinctions. Holding office for the entire country, the president needs to guard against the commandeering of state resources for party ends,” the report reads.

“The distinction between the state and the political party has become blurred.”
Poverty, unemployment and corruption also received red ratings.

“Given the perceptions of corruption in South Africa and that government did not follow through with the APRM’s recommendations on protecting whistle-blowers, the evaluating group felt that a red rating was justified.”

Parliament was asked to improve reports from committees and “upgrade the quality of debate“. A policy on attendance for MPs was also needed.
According to the report, Parliament needed to be “more conscientious in evaluating and processing legislation”.

“After passing legislation, Parliament needs to monitor its operation. As a part of this process, the objectives of the legislation need to be clearly spelled out to enable such monitoring.”

Other contentious issues such as racism, land reform, black economic empowerment and service delivery received orange ratings, with warnings that there was room for improvement.

On land reform, the report notes: “Although much progress has been achieved, completion is still far away. The experts on land reform in the evaluating team felt that given the overall status of the issue, a red rating should be awarded.

“However, other participants argued that a green rating should be awarded, based on the progress achieved. Therefore, an orange rating was awarded as a compromise.”
The only green rating was for holding successful elections.

Although there was a category called “access to information and protection of the media“, no rating was given because the media had not been covered in previous reports.

However, it notes that access to information and media freedom are threatened by plans to establish a media tribunal and the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.