Sceptics complain that the Zondo commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector is a waste of time and money. It could turn out to be much worse than that. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Dawn narrative can be sustained only by portraying the new ANC as distinct from the old. Unfortunately, the party recently elected a national executive committee at least as questionable in its probity and moral integrity as its predecessor. Given impending national and provincial elections, Luthuli House has fallen back on familiar theatrics. Parliamentarians have been woken from their slumbers to exhale moral hot air over selected officials. In their "oversight" committees, ANC MPs have suddenly discovered obvious but previously overlooked truths. What does a commission of inquiry add? It allows the president and his allies to pass responsibility for politically costly decisions to a judicial body. It helps protect the ANC from popular anger by ...

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