Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka’s intention to subpoena Cyril Ramaphosa for answers about the Phala Phala burglary strikes the right chord at a time when the country is badly in need of accountability and transparency from its leaders, says Corruption Watch. This is a legitimate step in following due process and ensuring that the rule of law is upheld.
The Public Protector Act makes provision for Gcaleka to direct anyone to submit an affidavit, appear before her, or provide documents for the purpose of conducting an investigation, and under the Constitution, everyone, regardless of their position, must be held accountable. This is even more important for those who hold public office as their actions set the tone for society. Ironically, the president made similar remarks just last Friday in his address at the SACP congress. Yet they are at odds with his failure to meet the deadline to answer allegations in the matter, despite requesting an extension to do so. His request for a further extension was denied.
“The person holding the highest office in the land must be prepared to put himself forward for scrutiny, particularly at a time when the public needs and deserves answers. This latest development in a matter still shrouded in mystery and secrecy is very concerning,” says Karam Singh, executive director of Corruption Watch.
The lack of any substantial information or explanation from the president to date regarding what transpired at the game farm in Limpopo only serves to fuel suspicion and mistrust. As the country struggles to come to terms with the impact of state capture, allegations implicating those in positions of power should be dealt with in a manner that signals a shift from the past, and demonstrates a commitment to action, beyond the anti-corruption rhetoric.
“Transparency should always be the cornerstone of a democracy, and even more so now when confidence in our leaders is at an all-time low amidst widespread corruption, malfunctioning institutions, and pessimism that we will be able to overcome the herculean socio-economic challenges that we face as a country,” adds Professor Mzukisi Qobo, acting chairperson of the board of Corruption Watch.
“The president has an obligation to account to the public and the institutions that are created to hold public officials to account. He must do the right thing and submit himself to the same processes that he demands of others, otherwise he risks eroding trust in government and damaging the ethical standing of his office” Qobo concludes.
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Phemelo Khaas: 083 763 3472 / firstname.lastname@example.org