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It is most appropriate that the hastily arranged “social sector summit” (part of the president’s “call ... to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality”) is starting on August 4.

That date is the second anniversary of the resolution of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC in which it urgently instructed the national cabinet to establish a single, stand-alone, specialised and independent anticorruption entity to deal with the corrupt without fear, favour or prejudice.

In the two years that have elapsed since the highest decision-making body in the ANC between conferences so resolved, nothing has been done to give effect to the resolution, just more talking, compacting and dithering. An open, accountable and responsive government cannot act only via conferences, summits, committees and commissions.

The summit should be under no illusions as to the role corruption plays in exacerbating and perpetuating the triple challenges it will discuss. Serious corruption remains an ongoing scourge; it amounts to theft from the poor. It discourages new investment due to the lack of business confidence that is attributable to the trust deficit that has built up alarmingly on the ANC’s watch because serious corruption continues unabated with impunity.

Delegates will do well to focus on countering corruption. While it continues, the Youth Employment Service created in March 2018 will continue to flounder. It was meant to have created 1-million jobs — it has, in fact, created 82,207. The various investment conferences have not yielded much for the economy either, nor will they while impunity for corrupt activity is the order of the day.

Sub-committees of the ANC’s NEC are still talking about anti-corruption “recommendations” two years after its resolution pointed in the right direction. It is surely time for action, not more talk.

Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now

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