On 19th March CPLO and the Institute of Security Studies co-hosted a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Elections 2019: who is saying what about corruption?’ The speakers were Prof Amanda Gouws, of the Stellenbosch University Politics Department; and Prof Lukas Muntingh of the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape. The Discussion was chaired by the ISS’s Judith February, and about 50 people attended.
Prof Gouws noted that accountability and answerability were at the core of how we deal with corruption. There were various people on the ANC’s electoral lists who had been accused of serious transgressions – if they should be convicted after having been elected to Parliament, it would be a serious setback for the party. Having such people on the lists also raised the question of whether we need to look again at the electoral system so as to find a way of excluding people with findings or serious allegations against them.
Prof Muntingh drew attention to the fact that the key institution in combating corruption was the National Prosecuting Authority; yet, the ANC’s election manifesto mentioned the NPA only once. Likewise, State-Owned Enterprises, the site of so much corruption, were only mentioned five times, and then solely in the context of job-creation. Thus, corruption did not appear to be a priority issue for the governing party.
Both the DA and the EFF paid far more attention to SOEs, with the former calling for reform in the way that directors were appointed, and for better procurement systems in order to stem corruption. The EFF proposed that corrupt officials, apart from being sent to prison, should also forfeit their pensions.