WHEN DOES CORRUPTION END AND CRIME START?
Confession time: I am totally hooked on the Zondo Commission! This is not a confession that I make easily, because it is a lesson in frustration. My Zondo Commission addiction has made me a bit of a social bore. Not since the days of Dallas, have I wanted to start every sentence with the words “did you see what happened yesterday [at the Zondo Commission?]…”
I have wasted hours of time watching former ministers, who should never have been put into these challenging positions in the first place, flounder for answers as Deputy Chief Justice Zondo and his team of advocates shoot them off their perches as easy as they like. Smart Director Generals will admit to not doing the right thing because they were scared to lose their jobs; despite this costing the South African taxpayers billions of rands.
The question that has me shouting at my screen is WHEN DOES CORRUPTION END AND CRIME START?
I keep on hearing witness after witness talk about unauthorised expenditure, poor decision making, and wasteful expenditure. These people who took an oath to serve the people of South Africa don’t even bother to deny the claims anymore. Yet nobody talks about pressing charges.
“A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money” This quote is often ascribed to Everett Dirksen, a Senator from the state of Illinois in the USA; but it is apt to the South African situation. The question is: when do people go to jail?
I know that if an employee of Standard Bank or a manager at SA Breweries were to misappropriate a million rands, that person would be dismissed and the police will be called in rather smartly. If a burger flipper at Steers was caught stealing a box of hamburger patties, they would not make it home; and if a petrol attendant at Engen filled up a friends car without taking the cash, this person would be jailed as soon as the security cameras have provided the necessary proof of the relatively minor theft. But cabinet ministers…nothing! This is banana republic stuff.
We all understand that our former President Zuma was too busy stealing money to care, but his two Deputy Presidents; Motlanthe and Ramaphosa were meant to be honourable people. Surely read the odd newspaper? Yet they did nothing.
There is one silver lining to watching the dark cloud that is the Zondo Commission; the more I watch this the less afraid I am about what life would be like under President Magashule or President Mabuza. These guys are two bit thugs who wouldn’t last a year. Zuma was a world-class grifter. His charisma and chutzpa allowed him to destroy everything and make his minions feel honoured to help him do it. I doubt if anyone else could pull this off.
State of the Nation 2021