Editorial: Zondo carries SA’s expectations for the truth

Johannesburg – It remains to be seen whether Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will manage to lift South Africa out of the heartbreak caused by state capture following the conclusion of the commission’s marathon hearings, which also saw President Cyril Ramaphosa account for his party’s role in the destruction of state institutions and resources.

There is no doubt that the state capture project has been the single biggest political scandal, which will go down in our history books as the first serious blot on South Africa’s democratic landscape since the collapse of apartheid in 1994.

Zondo is facing a colossal challenge of unpacking the root causes of the state capture project and its main drivers.

He has the difficult task of unmasking the engineers of this conspiracy and the real motives behind the state capture project. Zondo carries our expectations.

We expect him to provide guidance of how South Africa must deal with the project’s consequences and how we as a nation must ensure that something like it never happens again. Ramaphosa confirmed this week that state capture existed as a well-organised project that influenced policy and legal processes; something that involved massive collusion for private financial gain.

It is painful to observe how the project became a dominant and defining force in the ANC, the very same party that is carrying a massive liability to ensure that the affairs of our nation are properly looked after and protected.

The president, however, denies that his party was complicit.

He prefers to instead characterise it as negligence.

We beg to differ, Mr President. It is not negligence when ANC factionalism debilitates its ability to fight corruption, something which led to the weakening and destruction of state institutions.

It is not negligence when the ANC becomes “blindsided” by the fact that Jacob Zuma was friends with the Guptas, the main masterminds behind the capture project.

To claim the party was not alert enough is simply disingenuous, especially after one of the senior party leaders, Fikile Mbalula, had already sounded the alarm bells. That Mbalula’s courage to tackle the matter head on did not gain support in the ANC makes the party complicit.

It is painful to see how talented and industrious black professionals were co-opted and turned into Gupta puppets, something that ensured that their once – thriving careers in public service are reduced to nothing. Many ended up becoming cannon fodder of the state capture project.

Those party members who dared to speak out against graft were hounded out of office, framed and slandered.

Ramaphosa is correct in his observation about how state capture has damaged people’s faith in the rule of law and law enforcement institutions.

That makes it necessary that those involved face the consequences of their actions.

We hope judge Zondo will ensure that South Africans’ trust in the rule of law will be restored when he makes his recommendations in his final report.

It is our sincere desire that Zondo’s report will chart a new path for ethical and responsible political leadership, which will give rise to governance free of the temptations of self-enrichment.

Click here to read more political analysis from this week’s newspaper. 

Also read: 

Mamkhize has bought Bloemfontein Celtic

Cyril Ramaphosa: “Outsourcing weakens the state”

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