State capture truth will be heard
THE commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture has elicited mixed views. The doubting Thomases remain sceptical as the hearings, eagerly awaited by many and called for by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, have finally begun.
Bombshells have dropped during proceedings which are being broadcast live on national television. Some allegations previously made through the media have been confirmed under oath, but many questions remain. Key are: When will the corrupt be put behind bars? And can the public money be recovered?
People want recourse, prosecution, justice and the restoration of state organs. Our economy and country needs to be restored to revive its growth and development. Corruption and the corrupt must be rooted out of government and society. South Africans are perfectly justified in their impatience.
Questions have also been raised about many aspects of the commission, including its terms of reference and some of its members. Some doubt chief investigator Terence Nombembe’s suitability and the wisdom of appointing a sitting judge as its head.
Based on past experiences, some have questioned whether such a probe is worth the hefty costs in time and money. The reality is that commissions are a tool designed to investigate complicated and contentious issues such as the allegations before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Indeed, all that can come out of the commission are findings and recommendations. But it’s how the powers that be use these crucial findings that affect the shape of policy and action plans to remedy the wrong and prevent a recurrence of the corruption. Former police commissioner Riah Phiyega lost her job following recommendations from the Farlam Commission. While more heads should have rolled, it cannot be argued that nothing came out of that probe.
As the Zondo commission hearings get into full swing, it’s incumbent on every citizen to assist with information, to follow proceedings and learn so each and every one of us can do our part to prevent the recurrence of state capture. Reacting to the DA’s request to take direct part in the hearings, Zondo told the party, “like any member of the public, it is free to present any relevant documentary evidence to the commission’s legal team”. So the door is open to anyone with information to come forward and assist.
It may not seem like it to many, but the country may slowly be turning the corner and moving away from what the commission’s next witness, Vytjie Mentor, correctly referred to as the abyss. And all of us have a role to play.