South Africa’s inquiries have a track record of offenders avoiding punishment for their wrongdoing, Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen has said.
Steenhuisen and DA MPs Bridget Masango and Natasha Mazzone held a briefing on Thursday where they outlined how state capture has led to the collapse of several state departments.
Taking questions from the media, Steenhuisen expressed his concerns over the lack of accountability for those involved in maladministration and corruption at various departments and entities.
“State Capture came to light two years ago and yet there have been no arrests of politicians or corrupt officials,” Steenhuisen said.
“We lack consequences in SA, which is why we keep tripping up over corruption and maladministration.” He pointed out that South Africa does have laws with stringent consequences, but they are not necessarily enforced.
“There is a lack of political will to hold people accountable. Until you introduce that, you are going to have a problem.”
Steenhuisen suggested that details of officials dismissed for corruption, maladministration, theft or mismanagement of funds be entered into a national database – to ensure that they are never again employed in another sphere of government.
He added that there should be proper accountability in terms of the findings and recommendations in the Auditor-General report on an annual basis.
He also suggested mandatory sentencing for those working in state security, including the South African Police Service. If officials are caught in criminal activity, a mandatory sentence should be added to their original sentence.
Steenhuisen said that the ANC as a political organisation should account to the Zondo Commission. He alleged that State Capture is something that was formed and reinforced by the political party.
Responding to a question about the DA’s role in the Zondo Commission, given that the party’s request to , Steenhuisen said the DA is pursuing different legal angles to see how they could “insert” themselves into the process to ensure there are proper consequences.
“We are hoping this commission will move swiftly to bring justice before people can skip the country, or before the length of time makes it impossible to go after them.”
He stressed the importance of accountability, as South Africans were becoming “immune” to reports about corruption and the billions lost to the fiscus as a result.
“It’s time to put some heads on spikes. When you do that, it sends a message,” Steenhuisen said.
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