#StateCapture: Parliamentary committees have a case to answer, says expert
Durban - With Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s state capture commission set to turn its attention to the National Assembly’s role in alleged state capture, one political analyst believes some portfolio committees and individuals have a lot to answer for.
On Monday Zondo said the inquiry was in the process of establishing a special task team to investigate the role of the legislature over the years during which allegations of state capture relate to.
Speaking on the task team’s role, Zondo said: “One of the things I am going to do is establish a special task to look at how parliament exercised oversight over the years in regard to issues of state capture and corruption. It may well be that, as I have said a few times since last year, if Parliament had played its oversight role, some of the challenges may have been dealt with early.”
Professor Daryl Glaser, associate professor of politics at Wits University, said Parliament had to account for allegations of state capture and corruption, because some committees in the National Assembly functioned more effectively than others.
“For instance, Themba Godi has just lost his seat and he had a good reputation as head of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). It’s been a very mixed picture. I don’t think it’s fundamentally different from how most parliaments around the world work.
“You’ve basically got the executive branch drawn from the dominant party in Parliament, so there’s a shared interest between the dominant party in Parliament and the executive branch; and Parliament goes soft on the executive branch. That is open to criticism both in South Africa and elsewhere where that happens,” Glaser said.
Commenting on Zondo saying that the special probe would focus on the nature of the failures of portfolio committees to discharge their duties, Glaser said there were individuals as well as committees that had a case to answer.
“There was simply a lack of will to get to grips with this (state capture and corruption) because of shared political interest.
“This is because Parliament, just like the various parts of the ANC such as the National Executive Committee, National Working Committee and the top six, is factionally divided as well and many parliamentarians had factional interest not only in defending the ANC but in defending Zuma,” Glaser.