politics

politics

  • Lacking Political Will Compromises Strong Constitutional Frameworks

    Gender equality and women’s rights are guaranteed in most Southern African constitutions but these do not result in substantive equality for women. Among other struggles, women remain unequal, under-represented at all levels of decision-making and experience high levels of gender based violence (GBV). These conditions obstruct women from realising their human rights.
     
    On paper, all countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have strong provisions on gender equality and equity. In addition, 13 countries, except Mauritius and Botswana have signed and ratified the SADC Gender Protocol (SGP), and are in the process of domesticating the provisions. SADC countries have also committed to other continental and global instruments promoting human and women’s rights. These include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW 1979), the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000) that spells out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
     
    In practice however, these instruments and their clauses are compromised by a lack of political will, slow implementation of key pieces of legislation that promote gender equality, and flagrant abuses of human and women’s rights.
     
    As South Africans observe national Women’s Day on 9 August 2014 the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEGE) Bill that aims to give effect to gender equality provisions in the Constitution is currently on hold. WEGE’s key provisions address the “social development’ of women, via education and training aimed at eradicating gender-based discrimination and violence and increasing education around access to healthcare. The other key focus area is equal representation and empowerment of women through the progressive realisation of a minimum of 50 percent representation and ‘meaningful participation’ of women in public and private decision-making structures, including businesses and political parties. There are specific provisions that address the socio-economic empowerment of rural women and women with disabilities.
     
    Recent developments on the WEGE are of concern. The Bill has been referred back to Parliament from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The NCOP asked how the Bill was linked to other legislation meant to address women empowerment as previous legislation had failed on that objective. What then, was the guarantee that the Bill would be effective?
     
    The 2014 Human Rights Watch World Report highlights concerns about human rights abuses in Angola that contradict the provisions in the Constitution as well as other human rights commitments made by the country.
     
    In early April 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, visited Angola at the invitation of the government. During her visit, Pillay raised a wide array of human rights concerns, including media restrictions and freedom of expression; the state’s use of excessive force to repress protests; mistreatment and sexual violence against migrants; forced evictions; and violations of economic and social rights. Pillay’s visit shone a spotlight on Angola’s human rights record, which is mostly ignored by regional and international partners in favour of strengthening trade links.
     
    Another key challenge in most SADC countries are the contradictions emerging from dual legal systems either through the formal recognition of customary law or common practice. As a result women are treated as minors and do not enjoy the rights guaranteed in the countries’ constitutions. Muna Ndulo, professor of law and director of the Cornell University's Institute for African Development, also chairperson of the board of Gender Links, discusses the impact of dual legal systems in the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies.
     
    The sources of law in most African countries are customary law, the common law and legislation (both colonial and post-independence). In a typical African country, the great majority of the people conduct their personal activities in accordance with and subject to customary law, which has a great impact on matters such as marriage, inheritance and traditional authority. Customary laws were developed in an era dominated by patriarchy, some of its norms conflict with human rights norms that guarantee equality between men and women.
     
    While recognising the role of legislation in reform, it is argued that the courts have an important role to play in ensuring that customary laws are reviewed and developed to ensure that they conform to human rights law and contribute to the promotion of equality between men and women. The guiding principle should be that customary law is living law and therefore cannot be static and must account for the changing lived experiences of the people it aims to serve.
     
    Ndulo states that many constitutions recognise the application of customary law without resolving its conflict with human rights provisions. He uses the Zambia Constitution as an example to illustrate ‘claw back’ clauses that qualify and compromise constitutional provisions on equality and non-discrimination.
     
    The new Tanzania Constitution is proposing far reaching changes including press freedom; the public's right to access information; education for all; greater representation for women in politics; and the adoption of a federal system of government.
     
    The draft guarantees women 50 percent representation in Parliament, an increase from the current 30 percent quota. At present, women parliamentarians are appointed to special seats by parties. Under the proposed Constitution, political parties would lose the power to nominate women to parliamentary seats and instead, voters in every province would elect two parliamentarians, of who one has to be a woman.
     
    Moving forward all SADC countries must make constitutions living documents that change women’s lived reality and ensure equal rights for women.
     
    - Kubi Rama is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gender Links. This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special series on Women’s Month.
    Author(s): 
    Kubi Rama
  • Learners Cause Chaos in Jo’burg CBD

    Learners who trashed the Johannesburg City Centre during a protest blame supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters for the scuffle with vendors and shop owners. 

    The march led by the Congress of South Students (COSAS) deteriorated after their memorandum of grievances relating to improvement of school conditions was handed over to the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.

    COSAS president general, Collin Malatji, says they are not certain if the four learners who were taken to hospital were their members, despite the organisation being known for such behaviour in the past.

    To read the article titled, “COSAS causes havoc in Joburg CBD,” click here.

    Source: 
    SABC News
  • Mphahlele Warns Against Another TRC

    Former Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA) director of operations, Letlapa Mphahlele, says having the second phase of the Truth and the Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is like a call for another fuss and a call for another circus.

    Mphahlele, who argues that the first phase of the TRC was seriously flawed, points out that: "Over 80 percent of the applicants for amnesty were actually indigenous Africans. What does it tell you? It tells you that we were our own oppressors and we were our own exploiters."

    He maintains that the real culprits did not appear before the TRC.

    To read the article titled, “Second phase of TRC is a call for another circus: Mphahlele,” click here.

    Source: 
    SABC News
  • Visualising the End of Inequality - A New Path to Negotiation

    Do we live in a world where powerful men in government, powerful men in business and powerful men in army uniforms conspire to smash popular dissent to the growing inequality?

    When the Forbes magazine - not the representative of the world's poor - quotes an Oxfam report, released at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos meeting this year, that raises the obscenity of inequality - then it is time the world’s rich and powerful stand up and answer some serious questions.

    Is this just a cyclical crisis or is it a systemic one? Are the following statistics driving the crises we face today, from economic to ecological, from financial to food and burgeoning youth unemployment and to the many resource conflicts and corruption scandals that plague our world?
    • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population;
    • The wealth of the top one percent – the richest people in the world – amounts to US$110 trillion. That is 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population;
    • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world;
    • Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
    • The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
    There is a growing consensus that the concentration of wealth in the world in the hands of fewer and fewer people is untenable. Thomas Piketty, the world-renowned economist, in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, calls it the second Gilded Age-defined by the incredible rise of the 'one percent'.

    Where does the remaining 99 percent feature in this new age?

    I am struck by the ferocious reaction to the  National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa  (NUMSA) strike. It is described as irresponsible after the economy contracted 0.6 percent in the first quarter after it was alleged that it was caused by a five-month long platinum miners’ strike. Forgotten is that collective bargaining, which includes the right to strike for a living wage, is enshrined in the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In South Africa, it is in the Constitution and has been a cornerstone of the institution of democracy.

    Forgotten is the latest employment data, which indicates an unemployment rate of 25.2 percent in terms of the narrow definition and 35.1 percent if the broad definition is used. So is the fact that youth unemployment in the 18-35 range is today over 60 percent. So how has the ratio of dependents to a single breadwinner changed since 1994? I am sure that a single worker is supporting many more dependents than in the 80s.

    Forgotten is the fact that many of our public health facilities are in a state of collapse, with civil society organisations like the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) reporting in provinces like the Free State that the crisis means some facilities have no equipment and supplies to conduct life-saving tests and monitoring of conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease; stock-outs and shortages of drugs for many chronic conditions such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV, diabetes and epilepsy are the order of the day.

    The same applies to many of our township and rural schools. The collapse of public services in many areas means that the extended families of workers incur more expenses going to private health facilities or sending their children to former model C schools in cities.

    I can empathise when the NUMSA president, Andrew Chirwa, says that “NUMSA has an obligation to ensure a better standard of living for its members. We have no intention to send South Africa into a recession… but workers are permanently living in a recession even today.”

    Similarly, a demand to Eskom for a salary increase of 12 percent should be seen in a context where there is great speculation on how the budget for the Medupi power station has burgeoned from R52 billion in January 2007 to an estimated R145 billion with an overall delay of 48 months today.

    How have the companies such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, providing engineering and project management support; Hitachi, supplying the boilers; Alstom, providing the steam turbines; construction companies Murray and Roberts, Basil Read and Aveng; ThyssenKrupp Materials, handling contractors of the coal stockpile yard, benefited?

    Can we have a public audit of all these companies, including those whom they have paid, and the names of the shareholders? Many want to know how public money is spent and whether part of that could have gone into improving the workers' wages and working conditions.

    Workers in South Africa live in townships like Bekkersdal or Alexandra, in the heart of the richest real estate in Africa. I have been there. It will break your heart: the poverty, the overcrowding, the battle for survival. These residents feel left behind by democracy, surrounded by piles of garbage, exploding slums and dysfunctional schools and clinics.

    Families of the poor do not want charity. They do not want a scenario of one in three South Africans living on a social grant. They want the dignity of their labour. Their desperation, as they fail to meet the obligations of a breadwinner, drives wage pressure and is reflected in high levels of alcohol, drug abuse (which leads to high levels of interpersonal violence), the spike in youth delinquency, among other indicators.

    We have to redefine our growth path, our governance and our democracy. True democracy must be built through open societies that embrace the rule of law and where public institutions protect the interests of citizens. Our struggle for freedom was a struggle to have a voice. If avenues to free and open dialogue and meaningful participation are closed off and people lose trust in public institutions, then collective bargaining will become politicised.

    That is what happened in the past. I see it happening again. The strikes and protests we see sweeping South Africa reveal a fault line in our society - between a small insider elite and the majority. Our new battle is against inequality, lest we forget the fact that the Gini Coefficient (a measure of inequality) reports the stark statistic that South Africa is today the one of the most unequal countries on Earth.

    This is the time for a new dialogue in South Africa. A roadmap back to the contract we made with our people in 1994 to ‘deliver a better life’ to all our people, based on our Constitutional commitment to human dignity and justice.

    There are tough choices we need to make, before it is too late.

    - Jay Naidoo is founding General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, former Minister in the Mandela Government and Chair of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). You can follow him on Twitter, or visit his Facebook Page or www.jaynaidoo.org
    Author(s): 
    Jay Naidoo
  • The NPA Crisis that Should Never Have Happened

    Barely a year into his tenure as South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mxolisi Nxasana is embroiled in a highly public scandal.

    Early media reports stated that shortly before new cabinet ministers were appointed, the former justice minister, Jeff Radebe, had asked him to resign because he failed to reveal that he had previously been charged and acquitted of murder.

    Nxasana has reportedly also been accused of nepotism, has two criminal convictions for assault to his name, and has been charged with resisting arrest related to ‘serious traffic offences’. While there should be a transparent and fair process that enables Nxasana to explain these revelations, there is no denying that this debacle will only further dent public trust and cast another ominous shadow over the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

    Public trust in key criminal justice institutions such as the NPA, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) needs to be restored, and a vital first step in doing this is ensuring that a competitive and transparent process takes place when appointing leadership of these entities.

    It should be remembered that for 18 months the NPA had an acting NDPP in the form of Advocate Nomqcobo Jiba. It was only after the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) took legal action against President Jacob Zuma to force him to make a permanent appointment, which went all the way to the Constitutional Court, that Nxasana was appointed. Considering the December 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal stipulating that Zuma’s previous appointment of Advocate Menzi Simelane as NDPP was ‘inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid,’ it is fair for the public to have expected far greater circumspection regarding the current appointment.

    Similarly, the opaque appointment of Riah Phiyega, a person with no policing experience, as National Commissioner of the SAPS, also corroded the morale of police officers and reduced public trust in the police.

    In his inauguration speech on 24 May 2014, President Zuma stated that the National Development Plan (NDP), a product of the National Planning Commission, would underpin all efforts to move the country ‘forward to prosperity and success’.

    To his credit, Zuma stated that for the NDP’s targets to be realised - for instance, in terms of economic growth, jobs, infrastructure and ensuring the safety of citizens - it is critical for the performance of the state to improve and for public service corruption and inefficiency to be eradicated.

    Indeed, with South Africa having just celebrated 20 years of democracy, Zuma has an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by ensuring that over the next five years, there is a revitalisation of various state institutions - including those with a mandate to tackle corruption, such as the NPA, the SAPS and the SIU. As a starting point, it is crucial to address the issue of appointments to these important agencies.

    It is time for the country’s political leadership to heed the calls for such appointments to be made according to a transparent, competitive and non-partisan process. There is already a precedent for this, considering that the heads of Chapter Nine institutions such as the Auditor-General and the Public Protector are appointed after being interviewed and recommended to the president by a multiparty parliamentary committee. The NDP, adopted by the previous cabinet, supports the principle that a transparent, non-partisan body should vet and interview candidates for key positions in the police before appointment, where necessary, by the president. This could be adapted to other criminal justice institutions.

    The NDP recommends that a national policing board consisting of expertise from various sectors and disciplines should be established to set standards for recruiting, selecting, appointing and promoting police officials. Regarding the national commissioner of the SAPS and the deputies, the NDP suggests that appointments be recommended to the president following panel interviews based on a clear set of objective criteria. This is intended to ‘ensure the incumbents are respected and held in high esteem by the police service and the community’.

    This cogent set of recommendations should similarly be applied or adapted to the position of the NDPP, particularly considering the vital importance that this person be ‘fit and proper’ - and also independent. Indeed, there would be many benefits for these institutions - and also for applying the rule of law - if such a transparent and competitive process were to be followed. This would invariably result in heightened public scrutiny of the applicants and include rigorous background checks of the candidates. Any subsequent concerns would be raised and engaged with throughout the process. Arguably, this would go a long way in preventing instances where key appointments are made only for serious problems to arise later on, to the substantial detriment of both the appointee and institution involved.

    A competitive and transparent appointment process will also allow competent candidates to raise their public profiles before they are appointed. Therefore, when they take up their positions, the public and public servants should know that appointees do indeed have the experience, skills and integrity required to head their departments with authority.

    Let us imagine that South Africa decided, for instance, to follow Kenya’s example, where prospective candidates for the position of the chief of police and attorney-general (similar to the NDDP) were rigorously interviewed on national television. Indeed, if the current head of the NPA had been appointed following such a publicly transparent process, the recent revelations would have emerged sooner, and he would have had a fair chance to publicly resolve them and ensure that there would not be a shred doubt concerning his suitability to head the organisation. It is deeply disconcerting and unfair - not only to him, but also to the many honest and hard-working men and women in the NPA - that yet another period of uncertainty will have to be endured, which will only serve as a distraction from their core business.

    The country’s political leadership should urgently and publicly ensure that the current NDDP debacle is resolved fairly and speedily. Any future leadership appointments to key criminal justice institutions have to be preceded by a robust, publicly transparent and impartial vetting and interviewing process. This will revitalise these entities and spark a process of restoring staff morale and public support, which would be immensely beneficial for efforts to tackle crime and corruption while enhancing the rule of law in South Africa.
    • Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo, Researcher and Kaveshnee John, Research Intern, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS Pretoria. This article appeared in the ISS Today.
  • South Africa Misses The Mark on Women in Politics

    Following the elections and President Jacob Zuma's recent cabinet appointments, South Africa has missed its last opportunity - so tantalisingly close - to achieve gender parity in politics ahead of the 2015 deadline.
     
    The 50 percent target for women's representation in all areas of decision-making is enshrined in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development adopted in South Africa in 2008.
     
    South Africa came under the spotlight at the SADC Protocol@Work summit on 27 May 2014, under the theme, ‘50/50 by 2015, and a Strong Post- 2015 Agenda’. The summit brings together 350 activists and government officials from across the region in the final countdown to 2015 - the deadline for the 28 targets of the Protocol.  
     
    Women's representation in parliament dropped from 44 percent in the 2009 elections to 40 percent in the 7 May 2014 polls, while that of women in provincial legislatures dropped from 41 to 37 percent. Following the announcement of the new cabinet at the weekend, women in cabinet remain at 41 percent. The proportion of women premiers dropped from 55 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2014. In the 2011 local elections, women's representation dropped from 40 percent to 38 percent.
     
    "South Africa is the one country that should have hit the bull's eye," said Gender Links chief executive officer, Colleen Lowe Morna. The reason for the drop, she noted, "is that South Africa has steadfastly refused to adopt a legislated quota, leaving this to the whims of political parties." 
     
    The relatively high numbers owed to the ruling African National Congress' [ANC] 50 percent quota. "But the ANC has not always stuck to its quota. And as its majority has declined, both at national and local level, so has the representation of women," Lowe-Morna noted. "We rest our case: the issue is too important to leave to the fate of political parties."
     
    The ANC adopted a voluntary 30 percent quota for women in 2002, and upped this to 50 percent in 2009. However, the party did not live up to this quota nor did they stick to the zebra proportional representation on the party list, since the first three people on the ANC party list are men.
     
    Out of the 249 ANC seats at national level, 115 (46 percent) are held by women. This is a four percent decline from 2009.
     
    The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has always been averse to quotas. Helen Zille came under fire for appointing an all-male cabinet in the Western Cape in 2009. Women hold only 27 of the 89 seats (30 percent). At provincial level, women's representation in the DA declined by four percentage points from 35 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2014.
     
    In her Western Cape cabinet, Zille boasted that she had increased women's representation by 200 percent as she now has two women in cabinet. She added that she would not discriminate in favour of women because they have X chromosomes or against men because they have Y chromosomes.
     
    "This is simplistic and it is disappointing, coming from a woman leader," commented Lowe Morna. "Zille completely ignores the historical imbalances between women and men. Nowhere in the world have these been corrected without deliberate measures to do so."  
     
    The new kid on the block, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) got a whopping 25 seats in parliament of which only nine (35 percent) are held by women. At provincial level, the party has 38 percent women. During Women's Month last year, the EFF said they "view the deplorable condition of the majority of women as a slap in the face for women who sacrificed so much for our liberation". With that in mind, although higher than many other parties 35 percent of women is still a slap in the face to gender parity.
     
    In another show of blatant gender blindness, the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP) continues to demonstrate a disturbing decline after each election. Out of the 10 seats in parliament, only two seats (21 percent) are held by women. This is a one percent decline from 2009, and a 14 percent decline from 2004. The decline also extends to the provincial level, down from 35 percent in 2009 to 20 percent women in 2014.
     
    Agang, led by a woman, only got two seats. However party leader Mamphela Ramphele, said she is not going to Parliament because she wants to reflect on her party's disappointing performance, and is putting forward two male MPs.
     
    In the 2009 elections, the ANC managed to get 50/50 representation of premiers. In 2014, of the eight provinces that the ANC won, men lead seven, while one province is led by a woman (13 percent). Nationally, there are seven (78 percent) male premiers and two female premiers (22 percent).
     
    Cabinet is where women's representation should be equal to that of men as the President has absolute control. But women now constitute 15 (41 percent) of the 37-member cabinet, and 16 (44 percent) of the 36 deputy ministers.
     
    Just before the elections, the national assembly passed the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill. If approved by the National Council of Provinces, the bill will oblige both public and private entities to ensure gender parity. South Africa could have made a head start with its just ended elections. "Missing the mark at this place and time sends out the sad message that patriarchy is still alive and well," noted Lowe Morna.
     
    - For more information about the Gender Summit underway as well as the figures of women in government, contact Katherine Robinson on 076 227 6517. A multimedia newsletter with pieces suitable for online radio, video will be sent out for your usage shortly.
    Author(s): 
    Katherine Robinson
  • Swazi Media Faces Restrictions

    Swaziland’s Chief Justice, Michael Ramodibedi, threatens the managing editor of a major daily newspaper with immediate arrest if his paper continues to comment on the trial of another top newspaperman.
     
    In addition, young activists were arrested and charged with treason at the trial of Makhubu and Maseko last month for showing solidarity and wearing T-shirts of the banned Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).
     
    Fear has therefore gripped the nation, to the point that journalists are shying away from reporting on vital issues affecting the rule of law and political dissent.
     
    To read the article titled, “New crackdown on Swazi media,” click here.

    Source: 
    Mail and Guardian
  • SA Elections: A Test of South Africans' Views on Corruption

    In the wake of the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla, opposition parties have been doing all they can to make this an election issue and keep the tale of excess and waste of R250 million fresh in the minds of citizens.

    Yet, the jury is out as to whether corruption really was an election issue, and whether citizens had been sufficiently angered by the expenditure on Nkandla to shift their voting preferences.

    South Africa has a strong anti-corruption framework and has signed a raft of international treaties and conventions on preventing and combatting corruption. Despite this, South Africa is increasingly struggling to implement legislation on corruption. This is due to various factors, including a lack of capacity and political will.

    The Afrobarometer survey on public perceptions of corruption, which was released last year, provides some insight regarding attitudes towards corruption. It found that 66 percent of South Africans believe the government is failing in ensuring a society free of corrupt and unethical conduct. Only 33 percent believe that the government is succeeding in the fight against corruption, and one percent indicated that they are not aware of its performance in this regard.

    The most recent Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) 2012 South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) shows that 74 percent of South Africans believe that corruption has increased. A small minority of 10 percent believed it had decreased, and 12 percent felt that the situation remained static. It also showed that public awareness of corruption is increasing.

    In 2003, only nine percent of South Africans identified corruption as a key challenge - in 2011, this percentage had increased to 26 percent. More specifically, the survey revealed that 66 percent of South Africans believe that South African Police Service (SAPS) officials engage in corrupt activities, while 38 percent believe that Home Affairs officials participate in corrupt activities.

    It also showed that 37 percent felt that politicians on the national level of government are involved in corruption, while 37 percent suspected that officials managing tender applications were involved in unethical conduct; and 36 percent believed the same of officials employed in judicial services.

    The survey also covered perceptions of the causes of corruption, with 63 percent of South Africans attributing it to the national government and Parliament’s inability to effectively deal with corruption, while 33 percent said that corruption is the result of ineffective and lax punitive measures on the part of the judiciary.

    Some 30 percent assigned corruption to poor transparency in the management of public expenditure processes, while 29 percent believed close links between business and politics is the primary source of unethical conduct in the public sector. Finally, 28 percent indicated that public tolerance of corruption is responsible for the persistence of this problem in South Africa.

    However, South Africa is not alone: the perception that corruption is on the rise is consistent with global trends. For instance, Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 revealed that 53 percent of people globally believe that corruption has increased, while 29 percent said that the levels of corruption remained unchanged and only 18 percent felt that they had decreased.

    The findings of the various surveys show that South Africans are concerned about corruption: but to what extent have the election manifestos of the major parties spoken to these concerns?

    In its manifesto, the African National Congress (ANC) indicated its intention to prohibit public officials from conducting business with the state; commit itself to realising and maintaining a high standard of professionalism in the public administration; focus on both public and private sector corruption; enhance the capacity of anti-corruption agencies to educate the public on corruption and to reform the tender system.

    It is not surprising that the ANC has focused on the public service given the ‘revolving door’ between the private and public sector, which has often led to conflicts of interest and has been the basis of several government scandals in recent years.

    The Public Service Commission recently confirmed that there has been a sharp increase in financial misconduct in the public sector. Its findings show that money lost to financial misconduct grew from R100 million in the 2008/2009 financial year to R346 million in 2009/2010; and increased to R932 million in the 2010/2011 financial year. It also predicted that this figure could soar to R1 billion in the following financial year.

    The ANC in government has already passed the Public Administration Management Bill through Parliament, which places a ban on public servants doing business with the state. In addition, President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address this year mentioned the establishment of a Central Tender Board to deal with all tenders across the country, and the appointment of a chief procurement officer to adjudicate on issues of pricing and ensure procedural fairness.

    The Democratic Alliance (DA) manifesto is quite similar, but it seeks to undergird Chapter 9 institutions with greater budget allocations - which have always been a bugbear and stumbling block to these constitutionally mandated bodies to do their work effectively.

    The DA also promised to prohibit public officials from conducting business with the state; commit itself to realising and maintaining a high standard of professionalism in the public administration; protect and invest in the independence of Chapter 9 institutions of the constitution and dismiss corrupt officials. It also said it would enhance accountability in government by reforming the electoral system; promote transparency in tender processes; prohibit the appointment of officials convicted of corruption, violent crime, fraud and theft; and implement lifestyle audits of politicians and public officials.

    The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the ‘new kid on the block,’ has been causing a stir and focused on two key areas, though with little detail. These are to prohibit public officials from conducting business with the state, and to protect and invest in the independence of Chapter 9 institutions of the constitution. Among others, it also undertakes to increase, harness and enhance the efficiency of government institutions to avoid all forms of corruption, and abolish the use of private companies in fulfilling functions and duties government has to fulfil.

    Both Agang South Africa and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) ran campaigns with a heavy focus on issues of corruption. Agang SA indicated that it would implement legislation to protect whistleblowers, while the UDM said it would establish a court specifically designed to deal with corruption.

    At the end of the day however, the voters decided which parties best represent their interests. The results of the 7 May elections will in many ways be revealing of South Africans’ attitudes towards current levels of corruption, and parties’ commitment to transparent and accountable governance.

    Judith February is senior researcher and Wilmont Gertse is an intern at the Institute for Security Studies’ Governance, Crime and Justice Division.
    Author(s): 
    Judith February
  • Calls for Re-Engagement to Save the Economy

    Opposition leaders have called on the government to re-engage Zimbabweans living outside the country as efforts continue to find solutions to the country's faltering economy.

    The leaders were speaking at a public forum in Harare organised by SAPES Trust, hosted under the theme 'Zimbabwe Going Forward; Consolidating the democratisation Processes and Re-enforcing Re-engagement with the Global Community'.

    Calls for national re-engagement come at a time Zimbabwe is battling with mounting economic problems.

    To read the article titled, “Diaspora critical for economic growth, opposition,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • NGOs Ignore Flood Victims

    According to an article titled ‘NGOs turn a blind eye on Chingwizi’’ by Zvamaida Murwira and George Maponga, the majority of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have ignored the humanitarian emergency facing over 3 000 families displaced by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi basin in Masvingo.

    Murwira and Maponga states that only the corporate sector and a few organisations providing 98 percent of assistance rendered so far, while investigations by The Herald show that there are less than five local NGOs active at Tokwe-Mukosi.

    They state that out of the 90 NGOs registered under the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Masvingo, only the Red Cross, Christian Care, Bhaso and Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers' Association have extended help to people at Chingwizi holding camp since they were there following flooding early this year.

    To read the article titled, “NGOs turn blind eye on Chingwizi,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
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