Opinion / 8 December 2019, 11:06am / Dennis Pather - Tongue In Cheek
Let nobody fool you into believing that fighting corruption is a piece of cake. It’s certainly not for sissies.
For a start, it calls for an iron-fisted political will on the part of government which is sadly in short supply at present.
It also requires our politicians to be people of high moral and ethical standing, which is so often a pipe dream in these times.
As one wag put it, don’t ever give a politician the keys to your city; far better to change the locks.
South Africa’s war against corruption becomes even more problematic because the rot is so deeply embedded in the fabric of our society, it’s now almost a way of life.
The danger is that while people’s patience runs out and the demand for more high profile convictions grows by the day, the wheels of justice is in urgent need of an oil change.
As much as we’d like to see Shamila Batohi and her National Prosecuting Authority act more aggressively against these looting scoundrels, her staff members do not conduct the actual criminal investigations themselves.
It’s the job of the SAPS and Hawks to properly investigate cases and hand the completed dockets to the NPA to follow up.
And we all know the kind of problems the police face in terms of resources, capacity, and at times, political interference.
Another problem is the hundreds of compromised officials and officers still employed in institutions like the NPA and the police force.
Until these despicable thieves, who have lived off the fat of corruption for so many years, are weeded out and replaced by more honest and professional staffers, who can you trust anymore?
The hard reality is that when you are involved in the fight against corruption, you are going to piss off corrupt people.
Many of these looters have amassed millions of dirty money in their criminal activities and can afford to hire high-priced senior counsel to fight their cases - or employ stalling tactics, patented by former president Jacob Zuma.
More recently, a new and more sinister phenomenon had reared its ugly head in the shape of threats of violence against journalists and institutions involved in exposing criminality and corruption.
What is needed is a protracted and meticulously-strategised war against corruption, just as we did when we confronted apartheid - and won.
Let’s take a leaf from the book of our Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, who, when faced with threats and intimidation of his auditors in several municipalities, decided he was not going to take things lying down.
His strategy: pick three of those dirty, rotten scoundrels from different provinces, haul them before Parliament and name and shame them into explaining their despicable actions to the people.
“When the rest of them see what is happening, they will think twice before they even make a veiled suggestion of that kind,” he said.
The war against corruption must be intensified before we end up as just another gangster state.