Respect for the law is a cornerstone of a just and safe society. Societies that flout legal standards tend to be unsafe, prone to corruption and moral decay. And yet, while legal compliance is essential to a good society, it is not sufficient. More is needed, and that “more” is morality. This is not a new argument, nor is it a particularly innovative one. Yet it warrants repeating, once again, as SA society continues to be shown examples of its truth, the latest being the extraordinary case of Momentum and the public response thereto. We need look no further than the state capture project being revealed at the Zondo commission for evidence of the importance of laws and standards. Transgressions of those standards, at several key points, aided the looting of state resources, fuelled corruption in the private and public sectors, and seriously damaged the professional accounting and auditing fraternity. To make matters worse, the key institutions on which we rely to enforce the law wer...

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