Small step in fight over corruption

Say no to corruption.
Say no to corruption.
Image: 123RF Stock image/ dizanna

One of the reasons the scourge of corruption has become so rife in our country is the lack of action against those whose hands have been caught in the cookie jar.

The past decade has been dominated by one scandal after another of politicians, business people and officials stealing from the poor and enriching themselves.

Despite tough talking from the government, announcements of high-powered investigations by this or that other state agency, there have been too few arrests - not to mention convictions.

As a result, many of us greet the news of yet another corruption with indifference, if not with a complete sense of helplessness.

Yesterday's revelations in the Sunday Times that about R139bn may have been stolen during the construction of three of Eskom's power plants since 2005 went without much public notice.

Yet about R500bn of taxpayers' money has been spent over the years constructing the Medupi, Kusile and Ingula power plants that were supposed to make load-shedding a thing of the past.

If about R139bn of that money went into the wrong hands, not only have we been robbed as citizens but those involved committed the biggest sabotage against our economy.

That most of us are not paying attention to this story is largely because we have lost faith in our law enforcement agencies and their ability to stop corruption.

Since taking office, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been making all the right noises. But action is too slow. We, however, commend the president for taking a step we believe will go a long way in strengthening one of the institutions set up to fight graft - the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Ramaphosa's office yesterday announced the establishment of a special tribunal to enable the SIU to fast-track the recovery of assets and money believed to have been lost to the state through corruption.

With the tribunal in place, it means the SIU will no longer have to wait for prolonged civil litigation processes before recovering the assets once a matter has been concluded in a criminal court.

We wish judge Gidfonia Mlindelwa Makhanya and other members of the tribunal all the best in their new roles.

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