Speaking in yesterday’s Budget Vote Debate on the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the IFP’s Dr Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini, MP launched a daring challenge to Government to fight corruption with certain tough, proven methods, which have not yet been used. The Hon. Dr Ambrosini made the following statement.
“During this debate, as in many of the debates of the Department of Justice in prior years and, unfortunately, in many of the debates of this Department in future years, the issue of corruption appears to be central. We are debating it in recognition of its importance.
The real issue is whether we can do something over and above debating it. I, for one, believe that there is nothing wrong with the legislation we have adopted. We have good laws on the books. The process of implementing those laws has been extraordinarily difficult, and we have reached a critical point where corruption can no longer be defeated because the burden of enforcing the law has become greater than the administrative capacity dedicated to that purpose. We must become realists and do the unpalatable.
If we look at the situation of Nkandla, to which reference was made earlier, it is clear that we are dealing not only with the activity of corruption, but the culture of corruption. Unless we do something radical and dramatic, and we turn the page, nothing is going to change. Corruption has become a way of doing business.
The IFP made a suggestion several years ago and I want to make it again, because, when everything else fails, perhaps what seems to be outrageous can become meaningful and worth considering. We need to have a general amnesty on corruption something that highlights the fact that the past is the past.
We have had 20 years of changing the country from an apartheid situation to a democratic situation. Many things went right and many went wrong. Let us ascribe 20 years of corruption and pillaging of State resources to what went wrong. Let us promote a general amnesty that highlights the fact that what was done yesterday can no longer be done tomorrow. We also need to commit ourselves to turning a new page in the enforcement of corruption. If we clear the slate from the past, we can have structures dedicated to ensuring that, in the future, not a single instance of corruption will be tolerated.
We must adopt what has proven to be the most effective form of combating corruption. Consistent with our constitutional order, we must adopt something like the Anti-Corruption Commission in Hong Kong a dedicated and specially tasked commission, with international expertise and expertise from all segments of society, which has no respect for any established authority and cannot be intimidated. It will prosecute corruption wherever it happens and no matter who is involved, and will apply the laws we have, which are adequate.
There is a third element being formed within our society. We give our money to the Government to build roads, educate our children, heal the sick and attend to all other public functions not to build complexes like Nkandla. If that is how our money is used, it is about time for a tax revolt. There are people in South Africa who are organising a tax revolt. Make no mistake, it takes one single action of skipping one single cycle of VAT, and the entire system collapses.
We the people, we the taxpayers, still have the final say on whether or not this society can operate. There must be a new social compact where there is agreement reached that we turn the page. What went on, went on but there is a general amnesty. We have a new approach to the future based on effective mechanisms of enforcement of the laws we have on the books – failing which, we will need to go back to a negotiating posture, because the scenario of a tax revolt will force Government to realise that the money it spends, wastes and squanders is not Government money. It’s our money, given to the Government to govern.”
Source : Inkatha Freedom Party