Durban - South Africans needed to take the campaign against corruption to the political parties they support, retired Constitutional Court judge Zakeria Yacoob said on Tuesday.
Yacoob, speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the struggle against corruption should not only be waged against the government, but within political parties.
He said the problem with the current system was that voters could not vote for candidates, but only for parties.
“People seriously suspected of corruption should be removed [from their parties],” said Yacoob.
He said apart from voters holding their political parties accountable, government needed to make serious efforts to reduce corruption.
“It is the worst form of treason,” he said.
He said political parties should not wait for a politician to be convicted, but should do their own enquiries when it came to corruption.
He said a reduction in corruption would make a massive difference in government's ability to meet its socio-economic responsibilities such as housing and health.
Yacoob accused the government of lacking any sympathy when it came to socio-economic rights, which he described as including the provision of housing and proper health services.
“I would plead with government to start embracing social and economic rights.”
When taken to task over its failure to meet these rights, the government became very defensive.
“There isn't enough sensitivity and caring. It is the level of sympathy which is absent,” Yacoob said.
The government had to have programmes that addressed the plight of the vulnerable.
“Our government always had wonderful-sounding policies.”
These policies though would only mean something if they were acted on in a programme that could be implemented, he said.