Yesterday, the court ordered the release of the anticipated ‘State of Capture’ report. The 355 paged-document reinforces what many have suspected for a long time. Several media exposes involving the Gupta family and their businesses, a number of government ministers, and the President over the years highlight the extremely worrying influences that money wield in politics.
Many feel vindicated that what they believe has been given impetus; however our emotions towards the President, the Gupta Family and those implicated in the report should not blind us to the fact that there are structures and systems that allowed for these unscrupulous events. In our lamentations, we must also question and identify the gaps in our political, legal and democratic systems that brought us to this point.
The fact is that replacing the President will not necessarily guarantee that there will never be a repeat of this situation. In this regard, 2 options present itself for consideration.
Firstly, the time may be ripe for a change in our electoral system to ensure that the President is elected directly by the electorate and is therefore directly accountable to the public. This is important given that the many calls for him to step down or be removed have fallen on deaf ears. This speaks to the lack of accountability that the President has to ordinary citizens in the country.
Secondly and perhaps more controversially, it may be time for a review of the President’s powers to select and appoint Ministers, this could be for all Ministerial positions or only those that are most sensitive to ensuring a sustainable and operational state. Given our experience of Nenegate and the more recent developments around the current Finance Minister, is it not time to ask, is it wise for the decision on the appointment of our government ministers to be left to one person? After all it is much easier to capture one person than it is to capture a structure or system.
Read the full ‘State of Capture’ report here: