President Ramaphosa fails to lead on Zondo Commission recommendations; Parliament must act as last line of defense

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
24 Oct 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

The President’s address last night has confirmed that it is indeed Parliament that must act as the last line of defense against State Capture. The President simply provided an analysis of the Zondo Judicial Commission Report instead of stating what the executive he leads intends to do to insulate government processes from grand theft again.

Much of what the President said was existing work that is already being done by law enforcement agencies. Nothing was said about bolstering their capacity to do the kind of investigative work that is needed to prosecute those who plundered public money.

More glaringly, the President completely avoided making any announcements about cabinet ministers who have been implicated in State Capture and how he will be holding them to account. This is firmly within his mandate and yet he made a vague mention about looking into this.

The reality is that roughly R1 billion and six years have been spent on this commission, yet little action will be taken.

This is why Parliament must finally affirm its role as an independent arm of state that is constitutionally obliged to hold government to account.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, has effectively abdicated Parliament’s responsibility to this process and stated that the institution should wait for the President to table his implementation report. This is despite the fact that Parliament did not need to wait for the President before undertaking a review on its oversight mechanisms.

During this commission, Parliament was found wanting on how it holds the executive to account and how the ANC uses its numbers in the Houses of Parliament to derail Parliaments work.

It is entirely unclear what the Speaker of Parliament expected from a politically compromised President who will do everything – including refusing to hold those responsible for state capture to account – to stay politically viable in his party ahead of its elective conference in December.

Parliament should be above these kinds of political considerations. All parties should unite behind strengthening the countability functions of the institution so that we never see this kind of abuse and criminal capture of public resources again.

The DA will now be writing to the Speaker to place this on the agenda of the Programming Committee to be held this week. An action plan must be developed to action the wide-ranging recommendations of this judicial commission. Much to their political inconvenience, the Speaker and the ANC in Parliament cannot wish this process away.

The DA will not rest until we firewall the public service from the greed of politicians and those who are politically connected.