This is how commissions of inquiry should always happen: fast, thorough, decisive. The Nugent commission has not only examined the debacle at the SA Revenue Service (Sars) with speed and determination, but it has also set a new standard for how commissions should be conducted. By contrast, the Seriti commission intended to examine the infamous arms deal, sat for five years, cost R80m and it came up with no discernible findings or recommendations, except to say there was nothing untoward about the arms deal. The Nugent commission — consisting of former judge Robert Nugent and assistants Michael Katz, Vuyo Kahla and Mabongi Masilo — has sat for less than a year, and made a host of recommendations and findings. It has done SA a major service in shining the relentless spotlight of truth into a classic example of institutional degradation, and thereby forcing SA and particularly the government to confront an uncomfortable truth; it failed. One of the remarkable things about the commissio...

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