The Minerals Council South Africa released a statement in which it responded to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter to the ANC, addressing corruption.
Calling for visible leadership in the fight against corruption, the Council urged the President and the law enforcement authorities to act urgently against those within his government, and those businesses and other citizens who have looted public funds, including funds intended to ease the impact of COVID-19.
The Minerals Council, responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s letter to ANC members about corruption, said the extent of corruption had not only damaged the reputation of the ANC but also of South Africa as a credible investment destination.
“We welcome the President’s initiative in issuing this letter, but caution that its value will have to be measured in the extent to which guilty parties are actually brought to account,” said Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter.
In his letter, Ramaphosa wrote, “Corruption robs our people of billions that could be used for their benefit.” The letter also acknowledged that that corruption in South Africa had was deeper than allegations of corrupt activities during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the Minerals Council, former president Jacob Zuma and ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member, Tony Yengeni, recently responded to Ramaphosa’s letter.
Actions to address corruption
The president’s letter made suggestions to address corruption in the ANC. These included members accused of corruption accounting to the Integrity Commission immediately or face disciplinary processes. Another suggestion was lifestyle audits for all ANC leaders, public representatives, senior public servants and leaders of public entities.
According to the Council, action cannot equate to yet another commission of inquiry; it means action on the ground. “Thus far we have seen limited real decisive action, let alone the kinds of prosecutions that could reassure the country that the blatant corruption we have witnessed in the last few months, and in the last decade, would lead to satisfactory outcomes,” Baxter said.
In its statement, the Council stressed that law enforcement agencies need to be allowed to act independently and need to be capacitated to do so. The National Prosecuting Authority, South African Revenue Service, the Hawks and the various intelligence agencies should be allowed to do their work without fear or prejudices.
Furthermore, the Council added that not only did the agencies need to restore their integrity, but also all those who serve the country that need to restore the morality on which the Rainbow Nation was built 26 years ago. This applies equally to business: for corruption to occur in government, there is often a private sector counterparty that, equally, must be brought to book.
Just as it will take all stakeholders – government, business, organised labour and civil society – to restore our economy, it is going to take a collective effort to ensure this is indeed a turning point in the fight against corruption and a return to an ethical society led by an ethical leadership. This time the pillaging of funds could have cost lives. In this case, corruption is not just criminal, it is a crime against South Africa’s people. South Africa and her people deserve better. It’s time to make morality matter.