“We are determined that those found guilty of corruption or involvement in state capture will not be allowed to occupy positions of responsibility, either in the ANC, in parliament or in government,” This was a statement by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as he vowed to fight corruption should he win the upcoming elections in three days time.
Corruption has eaten deep into South Africa’s economy, costing the country at least R27 billion ($1.87 billion) in Gross Domestic Product annually as well as 66,000 lost jobs.
In 2018, a judicial corruption inquiry uncovered evidence of how top officials took bribe from local and multinational companies in exchange for lucrative contracts from state firms. While the ANC has sustained control of the government over the past two decades, public confidence has been corroded by corruption; election-cycle politics; impunity; economic tailspin and hardship, threatening the party’s re-election.
The allegations of corrupt practices and a lacklustre economic performance trailed the country and the top priority for the president is to reinvigorate the economy. To do so, Ramaphosa noted that his party which has been in power since apartheid ended 25 years ago, would punish members guilty of stealing public money.
“The era of impunity is over. We are now entering the era of accountability. Our young people want jobs; they want them now and we know what needs to be done to increase jobs, to grow the economy,” Ramaphosa told the ANC supported packed into Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium on Sunday, May 5.
When Ramaphosa took office as South Africa’s president on February 15, 2018, following the ousting of former president Jacob Zuma, he promised of a new dawn. In terms of corruption and economic stability, the country has not witnessed the new dawn promised. Even his deputy David Mabuza has been accused of corruption.
Putting an end to impunity and preventing corrupt officials from occupying positions of responsibility is a good place to start in South Africa’s fight against corruption. However, if the country truly wants to fight corruption, it is not enough to prevent officials from occupying positions; they should face the full wrath of the law. Secondly, reforms must first begin within the ANC, starting with the deputy president.
When it comes to reinvigorating the economy, transparency is important. All critical financial and other information that is central to economic development should be transparent. Finally all loopholes that breed corruptions in the political systems and institutions should be blocked. With these, it will be impossible to perpetuate corrupt practices.
Elections would take place in South Africa on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.