How we all miss Madiba, amidst the corruption charges of President Mbeki, Zuma, Julius Malema and others. Nelson Mandela was a man of principle. He understood the vital importance of the constitutional principles of accountability and the rule of Law. He submitted himself before the courts and the people he represented.
However it is a disgrace to see how the ruling elite has strayed from the example set by Madiba. The corruption in South Africa is definitely getting worse as is evident with Jacob Zuma defiance in rebelling against the rule of Law and protocol of Parliament.
South Africa is definitely in a better position than many of the other African countries to tackle the problem of corruption. Given all the resources available to tackle corruption, do South Africans perceive the government to be failing in this regard. A study showed that on average a little over half (56%) of people on the African continent thought that their governments were doing a poor job in “their efforts to fight corruption”.
15% of South Africans said that they had paid a bribe in the previous year compared with an average of 30% of Africans, who had paid a bribe,
So there is evidence that the heart of the problem lies in the lack of accountability for maladministration and corruption. The problem starts with the president – while there are various efforts by the government to tackle corruption committed by politicians and government officials is driving negative public perceptions of corruption in South Africa.
President Zuma is not solely responsible for all corruption in the public sector, but he certainly has stymied any progress that could have been made in this regard. In addition to his own shady dealings with people like convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik, he has repeatedly appointed people of low ethical standards to key positions in cabinet and the criminal justice system.
Rather than trying to justify the indefensible or attacking important institutions such as the public protector, the ANC now needs to be at the forefront of holding its leaders to account for corruption and maladministration. Failing to do so will not only undermine Mandela’s proud legacy, but will also further damage South Africa’s prospects of solving its most pressing problems of poverty, unemployment and inequality.