LIFTING THE LID ON CORRUPTION
The ANC’s labour alliance partner Cosatu has drawn a line in the sand about Government corruption. It’s insisting President Jacob Zuma deals with graft in a more “consistent and brutal” manner if he wants the labour federation’s support to run for a second presidential term. Zuma has promised to deal with the “money sickness” gripping the ANC. But if he does much more than just tinker with a system where party, State and personal interests are so intimately linked, he’s likely to lose much more than just Cosatu’s political support.
The Auditor General’s office estimates that at least six of 10 public servants hold private business interests. Almost 60% of national Members of Parliament have shares in companies and 45% hold directorships in private companies. When it comes to the Cabinet, around 42% of Zuma’s senior Ministers have outside business interests. And, until now, there have been no sanctions against ministers who have private companies that win State contracts.
The same goes for provincial government politicians. On average, between 33% and 50% of provincial public representatives (MPLs) have outside business interests, including directorships.
The scope of all those interests is tricky to track, because systems to ensure politicians and senior officials fully declare them is regularly shown to be inadequate. Such interests usually also extend to family members, which need not be declared. For example, Zuma’s own family has gained sizeable business interests since he became ANC president in 2007. That begs obvious questions about what role the Zuma name played in securing those, which do business with the State and which dealings have crossed ethical, if not legal, lines?
“That’s the point. If you’re a minister you can’t allow your wife, your brother or your cousin to do work with Government. Even if there’s nothing untoward in your business dealings with Government, people will always think you’re benefiting because of your surname,” Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi told
He adds: “If you want to be a public representative you have got to choose between that job