SIPHO PITYANA: Resist state capture
The Save SA campaign’s blueprint for change is essential reading for anyone who feels we need to do everything possible to save SA before it is too late
There is growing frustration about state capture and the effect it has on our nation. It manifests in the feeling that nothing immediate can be done to fix the mess created by President Jacob Zuma and his cohorts.
This unfortunate inertia applies to so many aspects of our lives. For example, it appears to have paralysed organised business. Encouragingly, business has found its voice — but it could do more than issue statements and meet with government to express concern.
This is especially so in light of the argument that the real "capturers" are "monopoly capital". This is a smokescreen and business cannot allow itself to be left feeling vulnerable and voiceless.
A great deal can be done. And it must be done, quickly, through organised pressure from all sectors of society, including business.
Business cannot allow itself to be left feeling vulnerable and voiceless against state capture
The Save SA campaign’s blueprint for change, titled "Minimum demands for a socially just SA", is essential reading for anyone who feels we need to do everything possible to save SA before it is too late. The document (available at www.savesouthafrica.org) outlines six short-term demands to protect the integrity of state institutions and ensure the rule of law and the constitution are upheld. These are:
An immediate judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, as recommended by the public protector, and the dismissal of all those involved in corrupt activity;
The restoration of credibility in the criminal justice system, including the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the police and intelligence services;
Public affirmation by all political parties of the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of Chapter 9 institutions, as well as a commitment to ensure these bodies are properly resourced;
The appointment of credible leaders in key economic institutions linked to the fight against corruption. These include treasury, the SA Revenue Service, the chief procurement office, the Public Investment Corp and the Financial Intelligence Centre;
Full investigation of corruption and misgovernance in state-owned companies, the removal of boards, CEOs and management found to be corrupt and their replacement with reputable leaders; and
Ensuring Zuma and the Guptas may not leave SA until investigations around them are finalised.
If business is looking for a way through the mess, it should endorse these minimum demands and help make them happen. In particular, it should back the call for a commission of inquiry into state capture, and the call for urgent steps to restore integrity in institutions of governance.
Organised business should also see the benefits of a properly constituted inquiry into state capture that will expose — and punish — those who stand at the centre of corruption and looting. State capture is the biggest source of mistrust between government and the people. Trust can only be restored by opening the closet of secrecy and appointing a judicial commission of inquiry without delay.
In the same vein, a concerted push to restore integrity in government institutions, particularly the criminal justice system, will begin to repair the damage to the state, restore public and investor confidence, and get SA back on track.
Organised business would also do well to support our medium-term demands, which call for a commitment from all political parties to legislation governing transparency in political funding. Public representatives should also be subjected to lifestyle audits as a prerequisite of service in such roles.
Business must make good on its commitment to clean governance by developing a code of conduct to govern party political funding.
The overarching objective is to restore integrity in government by putting in place a leadership based on integrity, care and respect.
Many would say we need a business leadership based on exactly the same principles.
• Pityana is convener of Save SA