Why is Judge Zondo still surprised by depth of state corruption?
After hearing as much as he already has, one wonders why.
Judge Zondo again expressed surprise as former Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe exposed corruption at the rail agency and his futile attempts to get law enforcement agencies to investigate. No one would act.
Molefe approached Parliament, two transport ministers, and the ANC’s top officials to address the endemic corruption at the agency, which was costing the taxpayer billions of rand.
Their inaction is understandable given Molefe’s testimony that some Prasa money was destined for ANC coffers, an allegation the party denied.
However, is it so difficult to believe, given former president Jacob Zuma’s publicly stated “party before country” maxim, and that much of the corruption happened under his watch?
ANC cadres were deployed to influential positions at all state institutions to facilitate the project and to ensure that where malfeasance was uncovered, investigations went nowhere. This explains the inaction by the ANC, the ministers it deployed, the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority.
According to Molefe, a major part of the problem is that many of these people remain in their positions: “If there are good people out there, they are overwhelmed by the bad apples so much so that the bad apples have more power than them and therefore they are unable to assert their authority over the bad apples.”
This is the dilemma facing the ANC, which is fast losing any vestige of the moral rectitude which accompanied its rise to power in the country.
Far from being the voice which spoke out against wrongdoing, the ANC is now known as the party which ostracises and demonises those who expose and speak out against corruption.
Evidence leader advocate Vas Soni told the commission: “True patriotism is speaking truth to power in the most difficult of circumstances.” But who would speak out knowing they would be hung out to dry by their party, as Thabiso Zulu found to his cost?
The depths of corruption are slowly being plumbed by the commission, and it will be a while before we hit bottom.