ANC shirkers, your day of reckoning is coming

2017-11-26 07:18
Rapule Tabane

Rapule Tabane

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Some South Africans are exasperated by the fact that, despite numerous findings against President Jacob Zuma by the former public protector – along with repeated failed motions of no confidence and many protest marches by civil society – the man remains firmly entrenched as Number One.

While acknowledging this collective sense of despair, I also see cause for celebration. Remember that Zuma was democratically elected – twice. He may be discredited for his personal and leadership failures, but the fact remains that he is a legitimately elected president.

If Parliament, which consists of our representatives, fails to get rid of him, people must accept that. We are, after all, a democracy.

While all the abovementioned efforts to depose Zuma have proven fruitless, efforts to ensure accountability by government officials are yielding results. Current examples include the parliamentary inquiry into state-owned Eskom and the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing.

The Eskom inquiry represents a victory for accountability. It serves to remind Cabinet ministers that, for each action they take, they will have to account and explain themselves at some point.

It seems to herald a fresh era after years of complaints that the executive has wilfully ignored Parliament and got away with it.

It also means that scumbags in public service, who have sought to manipulate government procedures to line their pockets, will not get away with such misdeeds.

The hostility shown by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in response to the questions asked of her during this week’s Eskom inquiry will, hopefully, serve as a warning to power-hungry wannabes scrambling to get into public office that the job comes with responsibilities aplenty. Whether it was Brown or her accusers telling lies will become clear in time. But it was seeing the minister squirm in that hot seat that showed we are a functional democracy.

Efforts by ANC MPs to abort this inquiry are disappointing. Days before he was appointed state security minister, Bongani Bongo led a delegation of MPs to Luthuli House to appeal to the party to quash the parliamentary process, saying it was embarrassing the organisation. And, at an ANC caucus meeting, a group of MPs – including Sibusiso Radebe, Mervyn Dirks, Tandi Mahambehlala and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu – questioned the “logic” of holding a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom instead of waiting for a judicial commission of inquiry to be held into state capture generally.

In this midst of this, City Press learnt that the inquiry’s evidence leader, Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, had received threats to withdraw from the inquiry or he would be reported to the Bar for misconduct. Vanara pushed on regardless, and his work has been sterling so far.

The latest revelation from the Eskom inquiry is that Zuma will be called to account. But, knowing our president, some legal gymnastics will play out before that happens – if ever – and he will do his damnedest not to appear.

The Esidimeni hearings, which seek to establish what caused the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients in Gauteng, have come with unprecedented revelations about the performance of government officials. Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has tried her utmost to avoid explaining her role in the tragedy, but she is not going to escape. And the disgraced Makgabo Manamela, Gauteng’s suspended director of mental health, looked nothing like the PhD graduate she is as she moved from arrogance to callousness and sheer folly when called to account.

All this televised scrutiny should send a warning to public servants, who abuse poor residents on a daily basis, that those days are coming to an end. But beyond the public shaming, we need to see consequences. Take your minds back to December, when Parliament’s ad hoc committee conducted an inquiry into the SABC board. It was later found that a number of people who appeared before the committee had told blatant lies. Yet nothing has come of that. This cannot be allowed – or that hearing will only have served as an exercise in futility.

Seeing smug state representatives thrive on their denials of wrongdoing at these inquiries only increase the urgency for the truth to emerge, so we can finally see the smirkers and shirkers face harsh consequences for their actions.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma

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