18 October 2020
Integrity has become an elusive concept
Conscience of a Centrist
By Kabelo Khumalo
Another week and another bunch of cowards paraded before the “I don’t remember” State Capture inquiry. Very few South Africans would disagree that integrity and uprightness are key qualities sought among public servants.
We spew the notion of integrity and honesty expansively as a general, all-purpose yardstick by which we evaluate the conduct of those who hold public office. But the reality is that it is an elusive concept in the South African context.
A duly elected democratic government has a solemn duty to safeguard taxpayers’ money and use such resources to the upliftment of a nation.
The toxic nature and collapse of governance in government departments and state-owned entities is an ode to the ANC’s plethora of failures over the past two decades. It is further testament that the party’s imaginary eye of the needle doctrine is as big as The Big Hole in
Kimberley. How else would you explain Mosebenzi Zwane’s progression from ANC regional politics to the NEC?
The self-mutilation of the ANC began when it paid lip service to electing and deploying ethical cadres into positions of responsibility.
At its 52nd national conference in 2007, the party naively adopted a resolution on the election of ANC leadership that affirmed “through the eye of the needle” as the organisational and political basis for the movement’s approach to electing leadership. It is ironic that corruption ramped up after that watershed conference, which ushered in the gentleman from Nkandla. Since then, the NEC has become a conglomerate of cowards and lootists.
Cowardice and corruption are not inevitable, they are choices. How long before the ANC and senior government officials choose differently? Why do we revere this soulless clique of the corrupt? Why do we make excuses for them? Why do we make excuses about our inaction?
The corrupt ANC politician has mastered the art of stealing from the poor and still getting their votes – he is aware of the fallacies in our public service delivery system and what makes the
voter tick. He offers food parcels, blankets and T-shirts paid for by looted cash to those who struggle to eat two meals a day and offers free electricity to those who sleep in the dark.
The collective failure of South Africans of good conscience to break this cycle is why corrupt politicians keep winning.