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As the nation's war on corruption takes off, it will be naïve to expect those who are implicated to fold their hands and wait for their execution, writes Ralph Mathekga.
the decision by the United States (US) government to impose targeted sanctions
against the Gupta family and their associates, we should ask ourselves if we as
nation have shown the necessary resolution in taking a position against
that the Guptas' first direct punishment came from the Americans – in a foreign
jurisdiction – is an indictment on us as a nation. Justice Minister Ronald
Lamola welcomed the decision but added a very interesting qualification. He
said that the greatest tool that the Americans have is the executive authority;
which according to him enabled them to institute sanctions.
problem here in South Africa is not the lack of some instrument such as
executive authority, but rather a deep-seated indifference towards what has
become a sustainable political project in the country. We are at a point where
even Donald Trump's administration finds our conduct abhorrent and we seem not
to have clear recourse to address the problem.
READ | Adriaan Basson: Gupta sanctions a sign that justice is back on track
not the first time that conduct that took place in South Africa is sanctioned
in a foreign jurisdiction whilst here at home we play dead and fuel the political
economy of corruption. The global conglomerate Hitachi was fined an equivalent
of R250m back in 2015 by the American Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for
violating the Foreign Practice Act in their dealing with the ANC's Chancellor
House in relation to the construction of the Medupi power station. Up to this
day, there has been no consequences in South Africa in relation to this matter.
It's not a stretch to say that the most serious investigations into the Steinhoff
looting are being undertaken by the German authorities; for a crime that was
orchestrated and undertaken here in South Africa. This while we are still
gathering basic details on what happened at Steinhoff.
welcome the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) decision to hire experienced
bounty hunter lawyers to prosecute cases that emanate from the state capture inquiry.
It is good thinking to hire the best to assist in this massive asset recovery
mission. The NPA should go further and be more creative by inviting goodwill
accountants and additional lawyers to assist in investigations that will lead
to the recovery of assets. They can be rewarded for their commitment to the
cause with a percentage of the bounty they recover.
nation's war on corruption takes off, it will be naïve to expect those who are
implicated to fold their hands and wait for their execution. There is a fightback
that entails discrediting the NPA, embarrassing the judiciary and attacking the
political economy of corruption in South Africa brings about intense conflict
among key role players on how to shape public opinion. We see intense contests
over how to shape the public opinion, including concerted efforts to
delegitimise the media so as to undermine the credibility of reports on
corruption. Efforts are made by public opinion contenders to stretch the unfortunate
yet isolated instances of compromised journalists as an indication that the
media should not be trusted. The aim is not to get the media to report fairly
and robustly, but to undermine it so it can only report according to the whims
of the politicians, some of which are implicated in wrongdoing.
picture is that there are visible shifts in ensuring that corruption is
prosecuted in South Africa. However, citizens still hold the power as to
whether they harbour corrupt leaders within political parties. If ordinary
party members do not engage their leaders on allegations of corruption, they will
be making their parties available as platforms to defend theft and impropriety.
By exposing corrupt party leaders, we will restore our dignity as people
capable of resolving our own problems instead of relying on sanctions that are
designed halfway around the world.
- Dr Ralph Mathekga is a political analyst and author of When Zuma Goes and Ramaphosa's Turn.
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