President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrive at Orlando Stadium in Soweto ahead of the president's January 8 statement. Picture:@GautengANC/Twitter
The majority of ANC members are men and women of integrity, honesty and humanity who are incorruptible and selfless public servants, says Dr Mathole Motshekga. 

Our transparent democratic system, chapter 9 institutions and progressive media have exposed grave social ills and economic crimes inside and outside government. Our constitution provides remedies for the identification and prosecution of the culprits.

A case in point is the Nkandla report, where courts ensured compliance by President Jacob Zuma with remedial action taken by the public protector.

The special investigative unit (SIU) called for prosecutions and disciplinary action against those implicated in the Nkandla scandal. It is important that these actions be pursued without fear or favour.

The latest case in point is the state of capture report. South Africans must not be tempted to "throw the baby out with the bath water" or to "demolish the house because the roof is leaking".

The state of capture report made it clear there were reasonable grounds indicating some economic crimes were committed and this requires the establishment of a commission by the president of the Republic.

The president took the matter on review on a technical matter, requiring the chief justice, not the president, to appoint judges.

At face value this could be interpreted as a violation of the prerogative of the president. There can be no doubt that this prerogative exists, but it is equally clear the president is conflicted in this matter.

One of the rules of natural justice dictates that one should not be a judge in one's own cause. This should suffice to let the president abide by the remedial action of the public protector because the consequences of further delays in this matter are too ghastly to contemplate.

The latest revelation of e-mails, outlining looting of state funds and implicating ministers and officials of parastatals, make it very clear that it is individuals within government and not the governing party that are corrupt and unfit to govern.

To consider the governing party as illegitimate would therefore be incorrect and misleading in fact and in law.

What cannot be gainsaid is that there are reasonable grounds to believe that many senior ministers and officials in government may have committed serious economic crimes that require urgent investigation.

The challenge facing us now is to have the commission of inquiry appointed without delay and be given, at most, three months to complete its work before the end of the year. The commission must be accompanied by prosecutions where reasonable grounds already exist that crimes were (or are being) committed.

The calls by the South African Council of churches (SACC) for the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections reveal the deep wounds inflicted on the nation.

This article pleads for patience - allow the due process of law to take its course.

In 1987 I was privileged to be part of the ANC delegation led by president Tambo at the conference themed, "The world united against apartheid."

The conference addressed the legality and legitimacy of the apartheid system.

It was resolved that the apartheid government state was a legal entity, under international law, but that the apartheid government was illegitimate because it was not based on the will of the people and apartheid itself was a crime against humanity.

The ANC government is based on the will of more than 11 million of the population of South Africa. It is both legal and legitimate. But there are reasonable grounds that some key players in government and parastatals have (and still are) committing serious crimes against the state.

Rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater or demolishing the house due to a leak in the roof, let law enforcement officials act swiftly, failing which private prosecutions should kick in.

* Dr Motshekga is chairperson of the portfolio on justice and a professor of law at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

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

Sunday Independent