Bongani Bongo arrest gives hope of real action

It is important that the matter, which has been in the public domain for more than two years, be handled by the court and that judges rule on Bongani Bongo's guilt or innocence, the writer says.
It is important that the matter, which has been in the public domain for more than two years, be handled by the court and that judges rule on Bongani Bongo's guilt or innocence, the writer says.
Image: GCIS

The news of the arrest of ANC MP and former state security minister Bongani Bongo came as a surprise to many who had given up on government following through on its tough-talking against corruption with action.

It was beginning to look like no one would ever be held accountable for any of the alleged act of corruption committed during the dark years of what has become known as state capture.

The more president Cyril Ramaphosa, his ministers and the National Prosecuting Authority talked tough, the more doubtful most became about their sincerity.

This was largely because, despite what appears to be ample evidence of wrongdoing, no one was being taken to task. Certainly no one in the upper echelons of our political establishment.

Even when there was action, for instance the arrests linked to the Estina Dairy Farm corruption scandal involving Guptas and their associates, the state ended with an egg on its face as it was forced to temporarily withdraw the case.

It is for these reasons that we believe that yesterday's developments are an important step towards demonstrating the current administration's commitment to fighting and defeating corruption.

While we subscribe to the notion that, like everyone else, Bongo is innocent until proven guilty, failure by the authorities to act against him despite serious allegations being levelled against him by a senior National Assembly official, called into question the state's seriousness in dealing with the scourge.

Bongo's supporters would almost certainly claim this to be a political witch-hunt against those who are seen to have been close to former president Jacob Zuma.

But if indeed there is a political conspiracy, that will be exposed during the process in the courts.

It is important that the matter, which has been in the public domain for more than two years, be handled by the court and that judges rule on Bongo's guilt or innocence.

Part of the reason the corruption crisis became endemic in the country is that we were too quick to jump into conspiracy theories about political interference whenever politicians were called into account by law enforcement agencies.

The rule of law is sacrosanct.

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