Ralph Mathekga

On sovereignty: SA is its own worst enemy

2017-07-10 07:50

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Two of the most precious possessions of any country are its sovereignty and self-determination.

These are the two fundamental principles that nations put forward as non-negotiable when engaging with other countries. Sovereignty is all about the pride of protecting one’s self-interests as a nation; always willing to act in the interests of one’s country and pushing against any undue interference by other countries.

Nations that have been conquered and are under occupation by others would have lost their sovereignty.

Recently, leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) have been emphatic in reciting the idea that there are threats to South Africa’s sovereignty by hostile foreign countries and forces.

These threats entail interference with South Africa’s sovereignty, and is allegedly not limited to South Africa. In the language of the ANC, African countries that are led by liberation parties are facing destabilisation just because they are still led by progressive political parties with a glorious history.

The list of African countries with sovereignty according to the ANC include, for example, Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe.

The suspicion that African countries with a messianic history are experiencing a threat to their sovereignty – a threat posed by a Western driven agenda of regime change – seems to be harboured by countries that are becoming increasingly corrupt, if not corrupt already.

This raises the question as to who exactly is responsible for threatening countries led by liberation parties such as South Africa.

South Africa’s case shows that the very same people who are alleging that Western forces are behind this phenomenon mostly undermine the country’s sovereignty themselves. South Africa is losing its sovereignty in a very strange way; a way that does not involve foreign forces but rather the ANC leaders in government.

Our government’s failure to initiate local investigations into individuals and entities engaged in corruption leaves no option but for international or foreign bodies to investigate such matters. There is a growing trend where foreign countries investigate allegations of corruption that have taken place in South Africa.

Foreign governments undertake these investigations because companies alleged to have corrupted South African officials come from their countries.

The unfortunate part of this scenario is that while these countries are involved in investigations of corruption taking pace in South Africa, local authorities are folding their hands and doing nothing.

Quite often these foreign investigations are not taking place parallel to similar investigations in South Africa, where the crime would have happened. This is how our government is volunteering away our sovereignty; by failing to initiate local investigations into allegations of serious crime.

Our government therefore creates the space for foreign countries to interfere in matters involving the sovereignty of Mandela’s nation.

When foreign investigations are conducted into corruption taking place in South Africa, local leaders decry the interference in our affairs. And so our own failure to investigate and prosecute corruption in South Africa threatens our sovereignty.

When it comes to investigating corruption that might have taken place in South Africa, the first people on the scene should be South Africans. But when we are the first ones to defend impropriety, we have no right to allege interference with our sovereignty when foreign countries carry out investigations into our conduct.

Hitachi is one of the companies that have been investigated and fined millions of dollars for “improper dealings” that have taken place in South Africa. The company was fined by the American Securities Exchange Commission in 2015.

Bell Pottinger, the company at the centre of the Guptas’ dirty public relations campaign is being investigated in Britain for its involvement in South African politics.

Yet, here in South Africa, there is no such investigation into Bell Pottinger, a company whose conduct clearly interferes with our sovereignty. Instead, some ANC leaders have defended the company’s conduct and have accused foreign agents for stoking political tensions in South Africa.

Giant accounting firm KPMG will be facing the music in foreign countries for its involvement in the Gupta money-laundering scheme, another act of impropriety that might have taken place in South Arica.

This picture shows how South Africa’s political leaders have actually undermined our sovereignty by frustrating any possible investigations into grand corruption. At times, our authorities fail to cooperate in such foreign investigations, stating that such cooperation and investigations undermines South Africa’s sovereignty.

It is our leaders who have deferred protection of our sovereignty to foreign countries, while busy decrying foreign interference. 

- Ralph Mathekga is an independent political analyst and author of the book When Zuma Goes. He writes a weekly column for News24.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    corruption  |  investigations


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