Pityana: Corruption probes create pattern

2011-07-13 11:31

Johannesburg - The reported probes of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and Special Investigating Unit (SIU) boss Willie Hofmeyr are part of a pattern and create a "worrying picture" about police conduct.

"This is a very, very disconcerting development," chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution, Sipho Pityana, said in an interview at his Parktown, Johannesburg office, this week.

"You see, you can't but look at what has been happening and remember the police when there was a case against Jackie Selebi. They went and arrested Gerrie Nel, and what happened to those charges? They were trumped up."

Nel, head of the now-defunct crime-fighting unit Scorpions, was arrested in 2008. He was the prosecutor heading the probe against corrupt former national police commissioner Selebi.

"By the way, that was during [former president Thabo] Mbeki's time. And now this thing is with us.

"Then they took action against [Vusi] Pikoli because he was taking action against Selebi, and he was taking action against the president of the ANC [Jacob Zuma].

"Now you have what seems to me, a pattern."

Pikoli, former National Prosecuting Authority head, was suspended, then sacked in a protracted battle with the state.

No action taken

The raid on the Public Protector's offices earlier this year, by two crime intelligence officers, should have sent a warning that all was not well. Police bosses denied knowledge of the raid.

"There is no full report to the public. The matter is not referred to an independent body, the ICD [Independent Complaints Directorate].

"And then you have these officers return to work. No punitive action is taken against them for conducting themselves in a manner that amounts to an attack on a body that has been established for the protection of the Constitution.

"Nobody asks questions about that, not the president, not parliament, nobody asks questions about why it is that those people were not taken to task, disciplined and punished.

"Why were we surprised when now there is an investigation?" asked Pityana.

Madonsela's offices were raided shortly after she released a report that found the (South African Poli SAPS's lease of a Pretoria building for R500m was unlawful.

Shortly before she was about to release her findings into the police's suspect rental contracts with businessman Roux Shabangu, The Star reported that her arrest on fraud and corruption charges was imminent.

This was followed by denials of any probe into the protector, and by a report that Hofmeyr was facing investigation for allegedly flouting procurement procedures in his office.

The SIU is involved in several serious investigations, among them a probe into police procurement procedures for new office space.

In March, Hofmeyr told MPs the unit was probing 16 departments and public entities for fraud, graft and maladministration.

"It's too much of a coincidence. It creates a very worrying picture of the conduct of the police. It creates a very disturbing picture about the readiness of the leadership of government to rein in the police, to respect institutions established to deal with graft," Pityana said.

It seemed, he added, that anybody who investigated corruption had to accept that they themselves would eventually be investigated.

The police's conduct was "questionable" and it was hard to believe they had bona fide intentions.

"In the eyes of ordinary South Africans, it creates an impression that if you touch certain people in society when it comes to corruption, you must be prepared to pay the consequences. That is not acceptable, that is an affront to a constitutional democracy."

Not an 'exaggeration'

"It is not an exaggeration. The spokesperson of the president says people must stop exaggerating, but if it was just an isolated incident, maybe you could overlook it. But when you look at it in the context of the pattern of behaviour, then it is very, very worrying... it's not enough to say that we have got assurances that this is not what is being done.

"We need people to be made responsible for their actions. They must account for their actions. We want to see government take action against these people, because it is obvious that there is something going on there."

Pityana said South Africa was on a "dangerous road" if state institutions were being used to fight personal vendettas or political battles.

State institutions were not "fiefdoms". He was surprised Parliament had not summoned Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and police commissioner Bheki Cele to attempt to "understand" the probes into Madonsela and Hofmeyr.

"Why are the Hawks investigating the SIU? Why do you have the Hawks being investigated by police intelligence? It creates a very, very chaotic and dangerous situation when the security structures get pitted one against the other. They should be working together.

"Once you go down the route of abuse of state institutions to settle political scores, or to settle differences with people you don't agree with, you don't like, we are in for a very dangerous ride. And it is an affront to the Constitution because these institutions are supposed to be at the service of everyone."

However, he said he could not imagine that state institutions were being used in the ANC's succession battle ahead of its elective conference next year.

"If you look at ANC policies adopted at the last conference, they are unambiguously strong against corruption."

The ANC's Polokwane resolutions took a hard stance on graft, which was why the Congress of SA Trade Unions, an ANC ally, was pushing to have them implemented.

But very little has been done by the ANC in government to breathe life into these resolutions -- which include regulating party political funding and investment companies linked to political parties.

Pityana said while corruption was a big problem in South Africa, the trend was not irreversible.

"There is sufficient political goodwill to reverse the trends, but we need to act and act fast."

Pityana was hopeful Parliament would draw up legislation to institute such a body.

  • willieman - 2011-07-13 11:44

    Our problems in this country can only be solved if we get credible leadership ,lets be honest with ourselves and particularly members of the ruling party it was a mistake to have Zuma as CC,the man is now a slave for those he promised haven and earth,the man is got a baggage

      OLIBO - 2011-07-13 12:26

      I agree 100%. Without principled leadership with courage to do the right thing, in the interest of public good, this country is going down. Unfortunately, in the current ANC leadership I can't find a strong person who is not indebted to any of the formations, who can take this country forward.

      PB - 2011-07-13 14:12

      Zuma is indebted to such a degree that he can't take any firm stands without someone yanking him by the short and curleys. It might also be a good idea if he spent a bit more time in South Africa instead of overseas. There is more than enough work to be done here that he is ignoring - stop playing peacemaker and do your job zuma!

      Meanleader - 2011-07-13 15:21

      The ANC cannot find an honest person , because all these new structures to investigate corruption , are run by blacks , the cops .... blacks .... Put a non-affirmative action white person in there , who has no political mates to please , and we WILL have a result . This corruption is starting to make is look like the African zoo that we are ..or have become since the blacks took over . Mmadonsela is the ONLY black person with integrity in parliament today ... I wonder how long the poor woman will last under these fellons that run SA . The racial divisiveness of the ANC and their corrupt laws will forever blight this country !!!

  • DAB - 2011-07-13 11:44

    I smell a rat. They are going outright to discredit these "corruption hunters"

      Meanleader - 2011-07-13 15:22

      that's a "hyena" @DAB

  • Hopeforall - 2011-07-13 11:45

    You go, Sipho ! When I read this, I have renewed hope. Where are you voices out there that have either been cowed into silence or been bought off? This country needs you to read this, and come out in support of what you know is right.

      daaivark - 2011-07-13 12:20

      I wholeheartedly agree. TRANSPARENCY Folks. We made a huge deal out of that when drawing up the constitution. So what's happened? Other than the return of the vampires to bleed us.

      Eric West - 2011-07-13 12:42

      Well said!

      KnysnaSha - 2011-07-13 12:44

      I agree hopeforall, it's good that some people are not scared to say it like it is. Without a doubt there is a pattern, you attempt to investigate corruption in the police force and they try and get you arrested.

      McDaNife - 2011-07-13 13:08

      President could see them himself there is a pattern. Unfortunately he has no balls to take action, he has a lot of useless baggage he is carrying around. The day when our president takes action in Sipho Pityana own words "the trend was not irreversible". Come on Zuma you as the head of the country we ask you to do something

  • jonessierob - 2011-07-13 11:48

    the anc is playing us for a fool,we are not stupid,we now what is going on behind the iron curtain.

  • Uthando - 2011-07-13 11:49

    Sipho Pityana, well put. Hello Zuma & fellow corrupt friends, nilibambe lingashoni! ha ha ha

  • bosegoos - 2011-07-13 12:00

    The situation is extremely dangerous. If government allows these witch hunts against law enforcement officers with integrity, the chances that SA will become a police state where power obsessed individuals such as Mthethwa and Cele bully anybody who dare to perform their functions, this counrty is doomed.

      Meanleader - 2011-07-13 15:27

      This is why the "Scorpions"were disbanded ...because they were the only institution left in SA run by non-criminals..oh and they were white . Leave anything up to the ANC , and they will corrupt it . Zuma ..I hope you get shot by one of your own smelly Tsotsi's !!!!!

  • StevieWonder - 2011-07-13 12:00

    Oh what a tangled web they weive... Lets just hope it is enough to make the rope that will hang them..

  • Rocky_III - 2011-07-13 12:13

    Cele and Zuma are both corrupt criminals. Do you even for a single second believe that the Mafia would not take action against anyone investigating them. Same thing here but worse as the investigating units are part and parcel of the Government.

  • daaivark - 2011-07-13 12:17

    A pattern? Really? NO! You don't say.

  • ZeDon - 2011-07-13 12:25

    Captain obvious strikes again!

  • Mjezza - 2011-07-13 12:29

    As we all know Jacob went to office with people toyi toying for him to be the President, When Mbeki took action against Jacob he wrong and had to be replaced. Its all a pattern they all know each others secrets so no one wants to mess with the other but for Thuli i think this is not the last of it.

  • Moi1980 - 2011-07-13 12:33

    Mr. Pityana, well said. At least someone in government seems to be trying to do things the right way.

  • Mpathokayikho Gumede - 2011-07-13 12:50

    I don't get it. What if Madonsela & Hofmeyr are linked to some corrupt activities? Should they not be investigated just because they are investigating ANC officials? Aren't SAPS also organs of the state? I thought everyone wanted these organs to operate freely and fairly against anyone if there is enough evidence. People should not be clouded by their hatred for the ruling party. Mpatho Gumede

      colincub - 2011-07-13 13:12

      how refreshing....another blind sheep pulling the wool over his eyes...pathetic

      GT - 2011-07-13 13:28

      Mpatho - you need to start putting the puzzle pieces together. Look at at Crime Intelligence division and the names that keep popping up through the following cases.... always on the worng side of the law: Kebble Murder Selebi trial Agliotti trial Llly Jackson trial Zuma corruption and the "magic" tapes Removal of Pikoli There is a constant pattern from the same people in the same jobs, doing their utmost to protect their corrupt dealings. This is so serious friend... so very very serious.

      PB - 2011-07-13 14:17

      Mpatho The main issue is the obvious timing of these sudden investigations. If they are guilty, by all means, do what needs to be done. But to most of us it seems too co-incidental that as soon as someone with a bit of influence in the ANC is being investigated, the public protector/scorpions are being prevented from carrying on with their work.

  • matubeng - 2011-07-13 14:00

    The ANC must just put Motlanthe as a President as a matter of urgency. How can people who appears to be credible such as Dr Nkosazana Zuma, Dr Motsoaledi, Motlanthe, Pravin Godharn, etc serve under a person like Zuma? I start to doubt them too...

  • Clive Mboyi - 2011-07-13 14:15

    You used a wrong picture of Pityana

      ProudlyKgomo - 2011-07-13 21:36


  • jock - 2011-07-13 15:02

    Corruption is so rife in all sectors of Govt.Nobody can afford to have a whistle blower coming forward.It starts from our President down to every level and the money and it is now just taken for granted.

  • ProudlyKgomo - 2011-07-13 21:34

    @Meanleader because all these new structures to investigate corruption , are run by blacks , the cops .... blacks .... --------------------------------------- Are just stupid or you are blinded by your glaring bigotry. If you were a South African you'll know that Willie Hofmeyer aint black!

  • Pasture - 2011-07-14 08:52

    I agree, yes act and act fast. We cannot watch our country going down with corruption. It is a very serious sickness that we have to stand up fight to root it out completely. It will take time to finish it completely but we have to be determined to end it.

  • Ai! Ai! - 2011-07-17 16:12

    It is said that a fish rots from the head. A question therefore: Is the head of the South African fish still rotting, or has it (as some might want to claim) already rotted? If so, what action could one expect? Just asking!

  • jansteyn4 - 2011-07-17 18:43

    Too late. The ANC has been hijacked by a gang of thieves. The British prime minister is probably coming to threaten Zuma with disclosure on the arms deal. He has no political power at home and big business has him by the balls.

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