When watching the Zondo commission one tends to be so moved by the stink that switching the TV off becomes the only alternative. One cannot help asking what happened to the politicians who are always quick to declare "we are serving our people, the poorest of the poor". You simply wonder how destroying your country can be of any service to the poor.
Most recently deputy Chief Justice Zondo, apparently so overwhelmed by the mountain of malfeasance that he deemed it necessary to establish a special task team to investigate exactly how our watchdog, the Parliament, dealt with concerns of state capture and corruption. Perhaps the MPs have long forgotten that theirs is to hold the executive to account and robust monitoring of the executive is an indicator of good governance.
This is the most welcome news in spite of the fact that we ordinary citizens are tired of these endless investigations without any conviction of the wrong doers. We are crying for the restoration of the rule of law as the cornerstone of our constitutional democracy. Mounds of evidence against politicians exist but none is arrested as if they enjoy some special kind of immunity that no one else does. This is surely not what the rule of law imbues.
Indeed, one wishes that this special task team will come up with something really special. What everybody knows though is that parliamentarians care not a dime about the interests of the voters. They care about their own, families' and friends' stomachs only. Serving "our people'' catchphrase is a hollow bluff that is aimed at winning votes. Period. How do you explain parliamentarians accepting bribes while enjoying exorbitant salaries and perks except consuming avarice?
If you ever doubt this you must look at the statistics. Our country is the most unequal society in the world and blacks in SA constitute 90% of the poor while 47 % are living below the poverty line. Blacks have faced incremental deprivation since the dawn of democracy. Most perturbing is the dismal state of our education and the staggering youth unemployment of 55 %. What have our MPs done about our plight? Raiding the fiscus thus stealing from the poor they claim to represent. Supporting Zuma in selling the country to the Guptas is a classic case of the politics of the stomach in the ANC. Money is the great muzzler of any ethical considerations.
Without pre-empting the special task team's work, the mammoth task that the governing party has is endemic corruption driven by avarice of epicurean proportions that has soiled all the levers of the government. It was not for nothing that former president Thabo Mbeki once said:
This seminal lecture underscores the depth, extent and palpability of putrid but persistent avarice in destroying the moral fibre of our society.
The demons driving pillage consuming our country can only be exorcised and the governing party has to put high profile political elite responsible for mass looting behind bars. Only Tony Yengeni and Shabir Schaik as high profile people have seen the inside of a jail. This undoubtedly shows that the governing party does not have the to prosecute its own. Hence it certainly redeem itself. Cyril Ramaphosa may have the political will but his organisation is so inured to malfeasance to let go. The so-called fight back brigade is just the tip of the ice-berg.
Empirical evidence has taught us that loss of political power is the greatest inducement to political will by a governing party. One or two terms will produce introspection. Until the helplessly fractured political parties and active civil society wake up to this reality prospects of a failed state are upon us.