The Good News edition: Accountability

Zondo: give that man a Bell’s

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has done more than just run the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture admirably. He has let the facts speak for themselves, exposing conspiracy theories (and lies) for what they are. 

Zondo faced the likes of Jacob Zuma, who accused the commission of being part of a plot to undermine him politically (like he needed any help in that regard…). But Zondo held his own, carefully using the law and facts, not politics, to deal with Zuma’s threats. 

Zondo has listened to years of sometimes technical, and often infuriating, accounts of looting at state-owned enterprises and other institutions. His calm demeanour and fair approach has given us confidence in the commission – and hope that those who have stolen from the state will be exposed and brought to book.

NPA clean up

At least 100 people were arrested this year in a huge clean-up operation, Business Insider reported. From former Free State premier Ace Magashule, to the alleged looters of VBS Mutual Bank and the Bosasa executives implicated in state capture, the NPA has swept through the provinces and municipalities, arresting corrupt business people and their co-conspirators in government. 

It’s long overdue: thanks to years of political interference, the NPA was weakened, and lost loads of top prosecutors and investigators. But under new head Shamila Batohi, and her colleague Hermione Cronje who heads a special investigating unit at the NPA, this crucial organisation has new vigour. It just goes to show what can be done when people of integrity are put in charge.

ANC accountability?

Could things be changing for the better within the ANC? 

The ANC’s integrity commission – a body of party elders that is supposed to make sure party members act ethically – ruled that secretary-general Ace Magashule must step aside after his arrest on charges of corruption. 

Magashule’s referral to the commission was initially seen as a sign of weakness for the Cyril Ramaphosa camp, as many people questioned why the president didn’t just remove him. But referring Magashule to the commission showed that Ramaphosa is playing this one by the book, making sure he isn’t seen to be playing politics. 

Now that the commission has ruled against Magashule, it seems Ramaphosa’s strategy is paying off. 

#PayBackThe (corporate) Money? 

Companies linked to corruption paying back the money? Unheard of, right? Not anymore.

The State Capture Commission of Inquiry has called on companies linked to corrupt activities to come clean and refund the state. Like global consultancy firm McKinsey, which got paid millions to work with parastatals like Transnet and Eskom. 

McKinsey partnered with a company called Regiments, which allegedly passed some of the money it got from those contracts on to the Guptas. McKinsey paid back some of this money in 2018, and again this year. AmaBhungane reported that McKinsey possibly owes more. 

But it sets an important precedent, and with the commission’s public call for other companies to do the same, business could start being held to ethical standards, and not just legal ones. 

This brief was originally published in the good news edition of The Wrap here.

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