Monday, July 05, 2010

Selebi and Graft: We Are Not Angry Enough

One administration after another has failed us badly

Jul 4, 2010 11:04 PM | By Justice Malala

Justice Malala: The problem with South Africa is that we are not angry enough at the things we should be really, really, angry about. We should be very angry today that the ANC, under President Jacob Zuma's leadership, dismantled the Scorpions investigative unit for its own political ends.

Columnist Justice Malala Pic: ALON SKUY. Circa Oct 2008. �  The Times.
Columnist Justice Malala Pic: ALON SKUY. Circa Oct 2008. � The Times.
quote There is absolutely no political will to eradicate corruption quote

We should be angry that Jackie Selebi, former police commissioner and head of Interpol, was allowed to stay in his job for so long and was protected for years by the administration of former president Thabo Mbeki despite public knowledge that he was taking money from gangsters and drug pushers.

We should be apoplectic that our institutions were used and abused in such a manner by both this and the previous administration.

The most pressing issue facing this country today in the wake of the Selebi trial and his conviction on corruption charges is this: who will follow him down to jail? Even more pressing is this: who will bring that political bigwig to trial?

Things do not look good for the administration of justice and the fight against corruption in this country. First, there is absolutely no political will to eradicate corruption. Zuma's administration does not seem to be in the least bit interested in fighting corruption. Instead, corruption is encouraged.

Take, for example, the fact that a Cape Argus reporter last week said in an affidavit that ANC provincial leader Ebrahim Rasool paid him bribes to write negative stories about his political opponents inside and outside the ANC.

What does the ANC do in the light of such explosive allegations? Rasool has been deployed to be our representative in the US. Zuma and the ANC do not even have the decency to keep the appointment in abeyance until the matter has been thoroughly investigated and concluded.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was nearly hanged, drawn and quartered by the ANC's national executive committee for asking why Zuma was not acting against allegedly corrupt ministers. There has not been an answer from Zuma's office to his legitimate question.

Why? Why does the president not feel it is prudent for him to explain serious allegations of bribery and impropriety against some of his ministers? Could it be because the president does not feel corruption is a serious matter?

Which brings me to the Selebi matter. When Mbeki needed a police commissioner way back at the beginning of his presidency he rushed to appoint his comrade Selebi. Selebi promised a new beginning for the police, and we were told that he would reverse the deluge of crime we were experiencing. Did he? No.

Instead, he cavorted and consorted with known criminals and gangsters while enjoying their money and gifts. If you read Judge Meyer Joffe's damning judgment, one thing is clear: this man was in the pockets of criminals through and through.

Mbeki failed to act against Selebi for years, and when arrest was imminent he fired National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli, one of the few heroes in this sorry, tawdry saga. Mbeki and his justice minister, Brigitte Mabandla, claimed there was an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between Mabandla and Pikoli.

Last year, when Zuma walked into office, he followed the Mbeki script to the letter. He appointed his mate Bheki Cele to the top police post, with promises of fighting corruption and so on.

Now there are allegations in the press that a large amount of cash, said to total at least R1-million, was stolen from Cele's Durban home. Cele has denied the allegation.

Meanwhile, in Mpumalanga, the premier of that province is dogged by allegations that an astonishing R14-million was stolen from his farm in December.

This is the province where nine whistle-blowers on the Mbombela stadium tender have been assassinated.

What is going on here? Well, first, not a single politically connected individual will be investigated, arrested or convicted for any of the allegations of corruption stated above. There are no Scorpions to investigate them.

The Scorpions' replacement, the Hawks, are unlikely to touch any of the political bigwigs who are busy looting the state.

If the police - many of whom do not have the capability to investigate complex corruption cases such as the Selebi matter - do indeed find something, it is doubtful that such cases will be prosecuted. Remember that the man who was part of the protection racket around Selebi, Menzi Simelane, is now head of the National Prosecuting Authority.

Zuma appointed him to the post, despite serious objections from civil society and the legal fraternity to ensure that no politicians are prosecuted for corruption.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the Selebi affair. The most important is that we are up the creek without a paddle.

1 Opinion(s):

Lime Lite said...

You gotta give it to poor old Justice. He's seen through the ANC and writes good articles about their activities, but seriously, just who is going to listen to him? It falls on deaf ears as only a handful care about being honest and living with morals. He's pissing in the wind.