Inquiries can help isolate rotten apples in government

FILE PICTURE: A worker passes hundreds of South African flags lining routes in and out of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport.
FILE PICTURE: A worker passes hundreds of South African flags lining routes in and out of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport.
Image: Halden Krog © The Times

Any caring South African should be worried about the events taking place in the country.

I am referring to the inquiries into Eskom, Life Esidimeni and the Department of Social Development.

A criminal case into a Free State dairy farm - where millions were allegedly given to the Gupta family by the provincial government - is also brewing.

The Sunday Times reports that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation - the Hawks - are ready to charge the family, together with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who authorised the deal when he was Free State MEC for agriculture.

These inquiries have exposed how incompetent and uncaring the ANC government has been.

They give a clear picture that its agenda has not been about citizens, but about politicians.

The question is: will the findings of these commissions and court cases force government officials - and those who manage state-owned enterprises - to do things differently?

It is doubtful, because none of the individuals implicated want to take responsibility for the things that went wrong.

For instance, the Eskom inquiry, which is under way in parliament, has exposed poor governance on the side of executives, and how they were protected by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

These executives - who took wrong decisions and left Eskom in the red - are refusing to answer questions at the inquiry.

Their responses, when asked difficult questions, are "I do not know" or "I do not remember".

Their actions led to the ANC pushing President Jacob Zuma to appoint a new board at the utility because lenders were making demands that the government could not meet.

The wrongdoing at Eskom does not only call for a change of board members, Minister Brown should also step down.

The happenings at the parastatal should be investigated in the same way the Hawks are investigating the dairy farm matter in the Free State.

The dairy farm story has been known for over a year, but the Hawks are only acting now.

Their delayed action suggests that they are puppets for various political masters.

The people implicated in the farm scandal - Zwane and the Guptas - are close to Zuma, hence no action has been taken against them.

This is a very real problem with the justice cluster in South Africa. They cannot be loyal to politicians and forget that they serve the people of the country.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is now the president of the ANC, has been clear that people implicated in corruption or state capture should face the law.

Ramaphosa and his leadership collective have to watch these inquiries closely in order to get rid of corrupt and incompetent people.

They should also draw lessons from the inquiries on the importance of not betraying people for personal enrichment.

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