From the editor
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.