From the ed­i­tor

JANA MARAIS

Finweek English Edition - - CONTENTS -

mo­bile class­rooms have barely started ar­riv­ing in Vuwani, Lim­popo, where 24 schools were dam­aged in ar­son at­tacks ear­lier this month, or in Kok­stad, where res­i­dents tried to burn down a school dur­ing vi­o­lent protests in the KwaZulu-Na­tal town.

The fight in Kok­stad is over the ANC’s list of lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil­lors, which places the town’s cur­rent mayor and deputy mayor high on the list of elec­toral can­di­dates ahead of lo­cal elec­tions in Au­gust. How­ever, pro­tes­tors want the duo re­moved, say­ing they’ve failed to de­liver ba­sic ser­vices. On the same day, EFF mem­bers were forcibly re­moved from Par­lia­ment af­ter they again de­manded that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma be held ac­count­able for the breach of his oath of of­fice on Nkandla.

Two events in two very dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try il­lus­trate the same chal­lenge: South Africans’ in­abil­ity to hold elected of­fi­cials ac­count­able. (As long as South Africans can­not di­rectly vote for their po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives and most im­por­tantly their pres­i­dent, they won’t be able to hold them di­rectly ac­count­able through the bal­lot box.) Pre­pare for many more sto­ries in the com­ing months of burn­ing town­ships, sus­pi­cious mur­ders of po­lit­i­cal party can­di­dates, EFF mem­bers get­ting kicked out of Par­lia­ment – and, most wor­ry­ing of all, sus­pen­sions of and in­ves­ti­ga­tions into of­fi­cials in in­sti­tu­tions whose man­dates are de­signed to counter the fail­ures of our elec­toral sys­tem and hold the pow­ers that be to ac­count.

In­stead of those in­sti­tu­tions be­ing pro­tected, there has been a con­sis­tent cam­paign to un­der­mine their work­ings. The tank­ing rand shows that the ten­der­preneurs are seen to be win­ning this round, but in­di­vid­u­als are in­creas­ingly will­ing to speak out and de­mand that al­le­ga­tions of “state cap­ture” by the Gupta fam­ily be in­ves­ti­gated, as il­lus­trated by this week­end’s let­ter from a group of for­mer di­rec­tors-gen­eral who are de­mand­ing that a pub­lic in­quiry be held on the mat­ter.

In an­other state­ment, by Anwa Dra­mat, for­mer head of the Hawks, Ivan Pil­lay, for­mer com­mis­sioner of the South African Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars), and Robert McBride, sus­pended head of the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid), the trio said they “dis­cov­ered a con­ver­gence in the cases they were work­ing on” ahead of their sus­pen­sions, and in some cases dis­missals, and that the “com­mon thread is that cases un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volved in­di­vid­u­als or en­ti­ties with ques­tion­able re­la­tion­ships to those in pub­lic of­fice. Most of these cases in­volved state ten­ders of some kind that were awarded due to pa­tron­age with in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­u­als in pub­lic of­fice.”

It seems there’s only one thing left to do, Messrs Dra­mat, Pil­lay and McBride. Let the sun­shine in.

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