Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo is shown during the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, in this January 19 2021 file photo. Picture: SOWETAN/ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo is shown during the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, in this January 19 2021 file photo. Picture: SOWETAN/ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Your correspondent Oliver Dickson [What do we want from the Zondo report?] poses an important question. He wisely identifies accountability and impunity as being among the defining issues to be addressed in the (yet again delayed) report of the Zondo Commission.

Accountability abhors impunity, while impunity avoids accountability.

Exacting accountability from those in positions of power and authority in the state is the task of the electorate via the various parliamentary oversight bodies, the chapter nine institutions, the NGO sector, the ombudsman offices, the civil and criminal litigation routes and the individual activists who blow the whistle on wrongdoers.

Ending the impunity of those involved in state capture will require radical reform of the criminal justice administration to replace the hollowed-out prosecution service and the ill-equipped Hawks with more efficient and effective specialised anticorruption machinery of state. New secure, independent, and properly resourced machinery designed to rake back loot and issue orange overalls aplenty will follow from the wholehearted implementation of the seminal decisions of the courts in the Glenister litigation. The culture of impunity abroad in the land will wither away rapidly when those tempted realise that corruption will no longer pay.

While the Zondo commission findings and recommendations will bind no-one, the recommendations should include:

  • Support for the process foreshadowed by the true-to-Glenister draft legislation that Accountability Now has published to expedite the necessary reform of the criminal justice administration.
  • Reference to the flaws in the electoral system that compromise accountability to citizens.
  • Attention to the need to end the illegal, unconstitutional, and pernicious practice of cadre deployment in the public administration and state-owned enterprises. The evidence heard by the commission revealed that deployment of unsuitable cadres was a major cause of state capture.

Generating the political will to address these three issues is everybody’s business. A letter, an email, or just a quiet word in a politician’s ear would be a good start.

Paul Hoffman SC, Director, Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.

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