Can we cleanse SA of these thugs in suits?

Former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh appeared before a parliamentary committee into alleged corruption. The writer says Eskom executives are taking the nation for fools / ESA ALEXANDER
Former Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh appeared before a parliamentary committee into alleged corruption. The writer says Eskom executives are taking the nation for fools / ESA ALEXANDER

Various enquiries have exposed how we have let thieves run the show. 

It is simply bewildering!

There are multiple enquiries taking place simultaneously in our country that leave some of us wondering if we are a country mining crooks and their shenanigans. The television networks are hopping from one inquiry to the next in an attempt to keep us informed.

Should we be embarrassed by the fact that we appear to be a nation of thieves and crooks or should we be proud of the fact that we are doing something about the seemingly cavalier spirit of malfeasance in our national life? We watch for hours as Eskom executives appear before a parliamentary committee and try to smooth-talk themselves out of the accusations levelled against them.

At times it is difficult to watch. It is as if these people think South Africans are fools. A lot of resources and time that should be utilised for productive purposes are being used to listen to thugs trying to be smart.

Almost all of them have journeyed to Dubai, accommodated in a particular hotel or they have met the Gupta family in Saxonwold, Joburg, or somewhere else.

Why does everyone have to go to Dubai? What is so sexy or lucrative about that place? Is Dubai the den of iniquity where all the wicked schemes against our country and its wealth are hatchet?

If you are not watching Eskom in parliament, you are glued to the screen listening to Bathabile Dlamini, the minister of social development, trying to disentangle herself from the mess she had created for herself and the country.

She had failed to implement a Constitutional Court judgment that instructed her to terminate an illegal contract her department had signed with Cash Paymaster Services to distribute social grants.

The whole country was on tenterhooks as it appeared social grants might not be paid at the beginning of April last year. It was a crisis whose explanation could only be linked to the corruption that is sweeping the country.

Her dereliction of duty was so gross that the court asked her to motivate why she should not pay litigation costs from her personal purse.

Her explanations to Judge Bernard Ngoepe, who is chairing the commission, are so wishy-washy that you pity the judge for having to sit and listen to that kind of stuff.

At the same time, the Life Esidimeni hearings are proceeding apace, where politicians and health professionals are trying to absolve themselves of a shameful episode that saw nearly 200 psychiatric patients dying or being unaccounted for.

Professional health workers and politicians who were involved in this mind-numbing episode are all, without exception, trying to shift the blame to someone else. Is this a manifestation of gross negligence or incompetence combined with an abandonment of medical ethics?

As these sordid dramas are unfolding before our eyes, the much-anticipated commission of inquiry into state of capture is creaking into life. The terms of reference make it clear President Jacob Zuma will have plenty of questions to answer.

Suddenly, the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and the Hawks have snapped out of their long winter of hibernation to do their work. Preservation orders are issued against the Guptas and the offices of the premier of Free State and those of the department of agriculture in that province are raided and documents seized.

The world must be looking at us as a nation overtaken by sleaze and corruption and bereft of ethics, morality and conscience. And that image of us as a bankrupt society is likely to persist for at least another two years or so.

The commission of inquiry into state capture is likely to last at least nine months and, if the law enforcement agencies are indeed awake, we are likely to see prosecutions that would take years to complete.

So, we might have to grit our teeth and bear this image of a rotten nation for a while. Hopefully, we would be able to cleanse our society of evil people who have contaminated our public life in this sordid way.

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