For a country that is gripped by corruption at the highest levels of Government, South Africa – a country with a democracy that is already 27 years old – cannot afford to languish in ignorance and apathy as the hard-fought sacrifices of a generation raised in the Apartheid era get swept aside.
It is indeed unfortunate, if not utterly tragic, that at a time when the country was already dealing with burgeoning unemployment and decreasing interest from foreign investors, South Africa found itself in the grips of the global Covid-19 pandemic. A situation presented itself where the government of the day, the ANC, could provide leadership in bringing the country through a significant health and economic trauma.
Initially, President Ramaphosa inspired the nation to unite at “family meetings” to tackle the crisis. Health minister Zweli Mkhize appeared to have a firm grasp on the management of the disease, relying on the contribution of scientists and epidemiologists in providing sober leadership. It was therefore a great shock to the nation when Mkhize was implicated in the R150-million Digital Vibes corruption scandal. Yet another blow to a country desperate for local, and especially internationally respected leadership.
But Mkhize’s fall is not the first we have seen in ANC government over the years. Neither has his fall from grace been very far – he remains the leader of Government Business in Kwazulu Natal, and a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee.
He has been preceded by the most notorious exploits of former president Jacob Zuma, the ANC’s secretary general Ace Magashule, MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape Sindiswa Gomba, former mayor of eThekwini Zandile Gumede, amongst others. The list goes on.
A recent Afrobarometer survey reveals that South Africans believe corruption has flourished under President Ramaphosa’s leadership. In fact, the study reports that “not only do South Africans believe that corruption is getting worse, but they also see large portions of elected officials and civil servants as involved in corrupt activities.”
If it is beyond the ability of the government to impose anti-corruption measures, where does the responsibility for recovery lie? Is it really true that the government cannot take successful anti-corruption measures?
As citizens of South Africa, it is our democratic right to hold the government to account. We cannot stand by and let corruption happen, nor can we place business on a pillar and expect it alone to combat corruption. Engaged and participative citizens make a moral judgement of governing parties by turning out to cast their votes on election day. The voting decision should consider what practical plans parties have to fight corruption.
Join Joanne Joseph at the next Business Day Dialogues LIVE in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Accountability Now, in a panel discussion that asks what business and citizens alike can do to ensure our fundamental constitutional and human rights are not violated through corruption.
Hear more from…
- Paul Hoffman – Director of Accountability Now
- Bonang Mohale – CEO of Business Leadership South Africa
Date: Wednesday, October 20
Time: 9am – 10am
Click here to register for your free online seat>>>