As the Zondo commission progresses in its high level corruption case, it seems that the future of South Africa may well be decided this week. Will the country become a full blown Mafia state or a Banana Republic? Will we emerge as a successful stable country with a strong and growing economy?
The Zondo commission will be approaching the court to order former president Jacob Zuma to submit to questioning in the state capture case. As investigations progress and new evidence comes to light, the country has begun to understand the overwhelming endemic corruption that has been running rampant in the government. Several government officials have already been implicated in corruption and it has become clear that many are still involved even now. The pandemic and resultant lockdown has served more than one purpose in the end – Firstly as a response to a pandemic with the capacity to destroy economy, and secondly, exposing the blatant corruption of senior officials in local and national government.
Observers mostly agree that the NPA has become very adamant that corruption must be identified and the perpetrators prosecuted. Testimony this week has suggested that individuals were placed in a position of power as pawns, tasked with keeping the top brass informed and involved on all levels. It has become apparent that assassination is commonplace now and any person involved runs the risk of being executed.
One of the issues that needs to be addressed immediately, is the practice to award tenders to companies that do not possess the knowledge or the manpower to do the job at hand. These companies sources other businesses to do the actual work, with the result that the state end up paying much more than it should. Often the contractor that was responsible for the work before the tender was awarded to someone else, ends up being contracted to do exactly what they have always done. The Free State housing project was one such case. An exorbitant amount of money was paid without a single brick being laid. Several officials have already been arrested.
The future of the people of South Africa hangs in the balance now. Will the poor continue to be robbed, will government officials continue to abuse their power for personal financial gains? An entire country waits with bated breath to see whether, for once, the people of this country will be considered as most important.