President Cyril Ramaphosa keeps promising us he will keep things on track, but he’s either too timid to apply the brakes or hoping things will somehow sort themselves out over time, says the writer. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Ask any commuter on public transport about their biggest gripe and they will tell you instinctively: the trains always run late.

They’ll also tell you, the only train that appears to run on time these days is the gravy train.

Their needs count for nothing, yet, virtually every compartment on the Corruption Express is jam-packed every single day.

Pushing and shoving for a coveted seat on the sleaze train is an assortment of well-heeled councillors, government workers, mayors, MPs, Cabinet ministers and a growing number of private sector tenderpreneurs jumping onto the rand wagon. And that’s precisely why our country is running off the rails right now.

Unlike the stop-start Prasa chook chooks, this gravy train is gaining momentum and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

I know of only a few passengers who, having bagged an obscene amount of money illegally, decided to jump off the speeding juggernaut when it slowed down a bit.

Among them were the gluttonous Guptas, who picked our pockets with impunity and were last seen heading towards a private chopper ready for take-off at the Saxonwold helipad.

Meanwhile, their fellow passengers on the Corruption Express are sitting pretty in their luxury seats as they milk you, me and millions of other suckers out of our hard-earned rates and taxes every single day.

Today, South Africans are choking from the pervasive stench of corruption polluting the country.

The stink has stained the hallowed walls of Parliament in Cape Town, soured the milk of the Estina dairy farm in the Free State, bust the VBS vaults in Limpopo province, suffocated the KZN capital of Msunduzi, and relegated eThekwini into virtual dustbin status.

And, it seems, nobody has a clue how to stop this runaway train.

President Cyril Ramaphosa keeps promising us he will keep things on track, but he’s either too timid to apply the brakes or hoping things will somehow sort themselves out over time. How else is one to interpret the mess he’s landed himself, his party and his country in over the murky CR17 scandal?

Those leaked emails and bank statements and allegations that leading politicians, including MPs and a deputy minister, had benefited from his party’s R1 billion election campaign coffers leave many South Africans wondering about his election to the presidency. Was it all above board, or was it only through the disbursement of millions of rand that can’t be properly accounted for?

Well, Ramaphosa looked like he was heading for a thorough roasting when he took questions in the House of Assembly on Thursday, but he came through most of it virtually unscathed.

Cleverly deflecting most questions and fudging others, he promised he would work vigorously towards greater transparency and accountable government.

All that’s well and good, but an announcement of arrests arising out of the state capture commission hearings would have worked wonders to boost public confidence.

A few low hanging fruit would have done for a start.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.