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Bonang Mohale. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Bonang Mohale. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The government has not adequately dealt with the scourge of corruption and has instead established multiple commissions of inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption within state institutions, thus kicking the can down the road, says Bidvest chair Bonang Mohale.

Speaking at a Business Day dialogue event with Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on Wednesday, Mohale said agencies such as the National Prosecuting Authority should rather be strengthened to deal with corruption.

KAS is a political foundation, closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU).

“There are 14 agencies that have already been created... whose job it is just to deal specifically with corruption... The sixth administration has demonstrated that... it is comfortable to lead by commissions.”

Referring to investigations involving allegations of corruption at state-owned power utility Eskom, Mohale said at least three separate investigations in malfeasance had been conducted “over and above the board and the department of public enterprises”.

“An anticorruption agency is like trying to get the turkey excited about Christmas because the people who need to capacitate and resource it are the very same thieves that know that they will be coming after us. The reason the Scorpions was dissolved was because it had the highest success rate in terms of conviction,” he said.

Service delivery

Ahead of the November 1 local government elections, Mohale said the ANC is likely to see its performance plunge below 50% because of the allegations of corruption.

“In the last municipal elections, the ANC hung by the tip of their fingernails. The demographics are actually quite telling: 60% of the country is 35 years old and younger. These people have no [emotional attachment] to people who spent time on Robben Island. They want service delivery.

Echoing Mohale’s sentiments, the director of civil society organisation Accountability Now, Paul Hoffman, said that despite the various entities established by the government to deal with corruption it has not dented its prevalence.

“The difficulty is that security of tenure is not enjoyed by any anticorruption entity in SA ... and unless and until that is addressed by housing a single entity in a chapter nine institution ... we are not going to get any go-forward in relation to the fight against corruption,” he said.

A report by anti-graft watchdog Corruption Watch released in September revealed that corruption continues to affect the lives of people, with corruption within the police continuing to dominate throughout the pandemic as the police have additional powers to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

According to the report, the lockdown and the government’s response to the pandemic coincided with an increase in corruption-related activities regarding procurement and maladministration. It included mismanagement of funds such as the temporary employment relief scheme (Ters), which was established to provide relief to employees and employers who lost their income due to the lockdown.

Correction: October 21 2021
An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Bonang Mohale was CEO of Business Leadership SA.

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