Dark days for SA with dirty politics

Image: Halden Krog © The Times

It's always darkest before the dawn, so goes the proverb.

The message behind this saying is that one should not give up due to hardship as things tend to become harder before they get better.

Since President Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to power some 15 months ago, there has been much talk of a New Dawn for SA. But sometimes this seems far from being seen and experienced.

There are moments in our collective existence as a nation when it feels like the blanket of darkness that has engulfed our country since 2009 is far from lifting, that dusk will forever be with us.

Of course there are flickers of hope - the ongoing commission of inquiry into state capture as well as the public probe into alleged malfeasance at the Public Investment Commission are but two.

And then there are current developments that leave you believing the forces of darkness may actually succeed in preventing dawn.

The ongoing battle between public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba does not augur well for the struggle to rid our public institutions of corruption and the abuse of power for political and economic ends.

The two sides have laid criminal charges against each other over a matter that, we believe, could have been settled amicably were it not for the fact that at least one of the two institutions seems to be playing a dangerous political game.

At face value, the conflict seems to be over a classified inspector-general of intelligence report on whether the SA Revenue Service, under then commissioner and now minister Pravin Gordhan ran an illegal intelligence unit.

But on close inspection, the fight appears to fit in with a broader conflict within the state between supporters of Ramaphosa and his administration and those with links to ex-president Jacob Zuma.

For too many years key institutions and individuals were weakened, and even destroyed, as a result of allowing themselves to be used as pawns in political games.

If we are to turn a page to a new chapter, we have to guard against constitutional institutions being used to further narrow political gains of the few. If Letsatsi-Duba and Mkhwebane are both genuinely doing their jobs as expected by the constitution, they should not have to resort to laying criminal charges against one another.

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