The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) notes that the first part – of three – of the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector (the Report) has been made available to the Presidency, as well as the general public.
We would like to express appreciation to Justice Zondo and his team for their dedication to this important task.
Part one of the Report is a scathing exposé of the rot within working relationships between government, various public entities, and their service providers, on a grand scale. It is clear that the Commission has established state capture.
It is further evident that many unscrupulous individuals manipulated processes and exploited their access and positions of authority to enrich themselves, as well as their family members and associates. Political parties – specifically the ruling party, as mentioned in the Report – also reaped benefits.
Of great concern is the blatant disregard for the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). It is unacceptable for those appointed to finance-related roles or positions of oversight to plead ignorance of the key piece of legislation that regulates financial management of Departments and entities.
President Ramaphosa offered strong words upon receipt of the Report: “We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the findings and recommendations of the Commission not only mark a decisive break with the corrupt practices of the past, but that they provide the foundation for greater transparency, accountability and ethical conduct within all state institutions and across society.”
However, words are meaningless if they are not supported by immediate action.
Many of those implicated and earmarked for possible prosecution are card-carrying members of the ruling party, who have faced little or no consequence management for their criminal activities. Is there sufficient political will to pursue the actions outlined in the Report?
The path is clear: the Report offers detailed recommendations to wage war against state capture and corruption. Among others, it states “the appropriate starting point for any scheme of reform must include the establishment of a single, multi-functional, properly resourced and independent anti-corruption authority”.
The IFP has long been calling for such an independent body, and raised this issue via questions posed to President Ramaphosa, who responded – in June 2020 – that “a new independent Chapter 9 institution to focus on grand corruption may not be necessary at this stage”.
It seems the President was wrong.
The IFP therefore supports the recommendations in the Report as pertains to the funding and various structures of this body, including the dedicated Inspectorate, Litigation Unit, Tribunal and Court.
However, it appears we will have to wait until June 2022 for the President to deliver an implementation plan on the Report’s recommendations to Parliament.
This is not acceptable.
The country has already waited too long to receive feedback from the Commission – initially the Commission’s term was six months, but following many extensions, it became four years.
The President stated that the June 2022 deadline “does not prevent other institutions from acting within their statutory mandate on any of the findings and recommendations of the report.”
As the IFP, we therefore call upon the NPA and SARS, among others, to continue the work already started by the Commission, and institute proceeding against those implicated by part one of the Report immediately. There is no need to wait another six months.
In addition, surely those tasked with preparing the Budget will also need to take note of the resources and capacity needed to bring the Report’s recommendations to fruition.
The NPA does not currently have the capacity to pursue the many recommended cases of fraud, corruption, perjury and more that have been uncovered in the Report. Therefore, when the Budget is released in February, sufficient funds must be allocated to the NPA so that they can prosecute those found to be guilty of corruption, fraud, and other illegal activities.
If, like the Reports of many other Commissions of Inquiry, the recommendations of this Report are not actioned, the hundreds of millions of Rands of taxpayers’ money invested therein will become just one more example of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
As the IFP, we are committed to closely monitoring the progress of this Report and will interrogate parts two and three once they are made available. As a Party that is committed to good governance, integrity, and accountability, we will continue to exert pressure on the ruling party to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are enforced immediately, without fear or favour.
Hon. Mkhuleko Hlengwa, MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539