Net closing in on dirty political elite

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The news, broken yesterday by Sowetan's sister publication, Sunday Times, that some prominent politicians and organisations featured in the Zondo commission could soon face the consequences of their actions is welcome.

The Sunday paper reported that party heavyweights like environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane, ANC MP Vincent Smith, the Jacob Zuma Foundation and its chair, Dudu Myeni, former correctional services boss Linda Mti, disgraced prosecutions bosses Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi - among others - are in the line of fire as the SA Revenue Service seeks to recoup R250m in taxes.

These individuals face allegations of under-declaring their incomes, overstating expenses, and misrepresenting their tax affairs.

They now face the real prospect of being served with hefty tax bills - perhaps the next best thing short of criminal prosecution.

The cry has often been that those with political connections are never inconvenienced with being held accountable for their transgressions, let alone being prosecuted.

The closest anybody of real significance came really close to prosecution was former president Jacob Zuma, stemming from the successful prosecution of his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, for corruption.

And, to think of it, the case has actually made a mockery of the justice system - with Shaik spending more time on a hospital bed and later on the golf course than in prison after he was sentenced to 15 years and then freed on parole.

Zuma's antics in staying out of reach of the long arm of the law is the stuff of legends.

The result, intended or not, is that it appears that some animals are indeed more equal than others in SA.

The past nine years - under the Zuma presidency - cemented this view, seriously undermining the rule of law.

This is how the road to a failed state and utter lawlessness is smoothed and paved.

But there is still hope and with this kind of news, the much-vaunted New Dawn might just herald a return to the idealism of the founding fathers and mothers of our democratic order.

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