Publication: City Press Issued: Date: 2003-09-20 Reporter: Mmusi Mogotlane

Corruption Erodes Our Trust in Government



City Press

Date 2003-09-20


Mmusi Mogotlane

Web Link


The past few weeks spewed forth a pungent political drama here in the country, and I will bet you a penny for a pound most of the corruption allegations against state officials in the drama, and before, are damn true. Believe me or be damned. Wait for the courts to decide if you may. That the ANC-led government brings some positive change is true, but we should not be subdued into swallowing a bitter pill of the reality of corruption involving millions of our hard-earned monies.

The political drama in previous weeks took me back to the sentencing on March 19 earlier in the year of the then embattled ANC chief whip, Tony Yengeni, on theft and fraud allegations. Well, I for one viewed the trial as the country's most followed circus. I perceived it this way because Yengeni, unlike many of his colleagues, fell on his sword, came out clean, pleaded guilty, and made the prosecution task an easy one.

Yengeni's case is, in my view, but the tip of the iceberg regarding the nature of graft among government officials and party aficionados. Ignore me at your peril, or believe what ANC sympathisers will write in response to these "false" claims.

It is obvious, even to the dull-witted, that a shocking list of government officials involved in the same practices exists, and that the government of President Thabo Mbeki "perhaps" ignores its moral authority and political might to track the financial standings of, and acquisitions by, cabinet members; hence Yengeni's overnight receiving of a discount on the car that has since taken his name - the "YENGENI" - without disclosing it to Parliament as required by law.

Perhaps the very masses that voted the ANC into power are too stupid to realise all is not well in this government. I can assure you, though, that Yengeni and some of the corrupt government aides, could have made the necessary declaration, had we had efficient discipline in structures established to police public funds and interests.

ANC sympathisers can choose to believe in the efficiency of these structures. I do not.

The number of corruption allegations affecting government officials is a typical phenomenon making local headlines, and if government fails to speak out and carry a big stick, it will soon appear as if Mbeki couldn't care less about this. I, for one, would not expect the man to take over and run the organs of security, such as the asset forfeiture unit and the Scorpions. But I strongly believe the time has arrived for the president and his cabinet to realise that corruption is fast eating away at the very fibre of trust we have in them, and is equally satisfying the myth that black people cannot rule themselves.

I am not, in anyway, suggesting that corruption was not endemic in the past regimes, and I am equally not expecting either the government, or some of the officials involved in these practices, to take this letter seriously.

It is rather unfortunate the people we vote into power view our opinions as nonsense. If you don't believe me, look out for a response from ANC sympathisers in the next few columns to the editor. Some of the responses will be from respected circles in the ANC.

With acknowledgements to Mmusi Mogotlane and the City Press.