Corruption Watch and Casac call for political party candidate lists to be reviewed

2019-04-01 22:58
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The Council for the advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) and Corruption Watch (CW) are calling on political parties to review their candidate lists.  

The two groups said the inclusion of compromised candidates on the parliamentary election lists of each of the major parties, represented a "significant setback for the prospect of robust parliamentary oversight".

"It is widely accepted that Parliament and other legislative bodies were conspicuously absent from efforts mounted to combat the corruption and state capture that characterised the period of the [Jacob] Zuma administration," they said in a joint statement.

The two organisations added that the responsibility was largely left to civil society organisations, investigative journalists and the courts while Parliament proved unable to exercise its considerable powers and duties of executive oversight.

Casac executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said: "Respect for Parliament is heavily dependent on the integrity and standing of its membership to execute its constitutional mandate to ‘represent the people and to ensure government by the people’. This can only be done by MPs who are fully committed to uphold the law and the Constitution."

Naidoo said the legal grounds for formally objecting to the inclusion of particular candidates on the Parliamentary lists were extremely and inappropriately narrow.

He said that it afforded little opportunity for successful legal challenge to the inclusion of candidates, some of whom have been found to have lied under oath, others of whom are the subject of strong prima facie allegations of corruption, allegations made under oath, while still others have had persuasive allegations of racism and sexism levelled against them.

“It is our strongly held view that in the final consideration of their lists, political parties should remove those – who are well known – from candidature for elected political office. We also demand that the relevant legislation be amended so as to raise the bar on acceptable candidature for political office,” he said.

Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said discussion surrounding the appropriateness of candidates for high political office gave rise to repetition of the mantra of 'innocent until proven guilty'.

"The implication of this is that only convicted criminals are disqualified from public office thus allowing severely ethically challenged individuals to occupy seats in parliament and the provincial legislatures," said Lewis.

Read more on:    corruption watch  |  casac  |  elections 2019  |  politics
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