“Laws must exist and these laws should be obeyed by all, irrespective of status, class, race or gender and this includes government officials too…”
Section 9(1) of the South African Constitution, referred to as the equality clause, states that, “Everyone is equal before the law…” However, as we have come to witness, some are more equal than others. This is made evident by the way some seem to be beyond the reach of justice.
Former Communications Minister Siphiwe ‘Corruption’ Nyanda who was axed for tender corruption never saw a day in court. He merely lost his position as Minister and returned as President Jacob Zuma’s Parliamentary Counsellor. All this despite his family trust reportedly owning 45% stakes in security company GNS Risk Management Service- now named Abalozi Security Risk Advisory Services- whose clients include Transnet Freight Rail, passenger train company Metrorail, state bus company Autopax, and the Gauteng provincial government. This very same company received R67,8-million for a contract awarded without a tender by the Gauteng department of roads and transport.
We’ve also had, Land Bank CEO Alan Mukoki who received R4,5 million after he quit in 2007 amid R2 billion worth of fraud; former SAA CEO Coleman Andrews, who received a
record-breaking golden handshake of R232 million despite gross mismanagement and fraud allegations. Also, Khaya Ngqula- another SAA CEO received a R8 million golden handshake despite having mismanaged SAA to the cost of over R172 million, along with many more allegations of fraud and tender rigging.
More recently, we have had our ‘Top Cop’, General Bheki Cele involved in an irregular tender award to the tune of R500 million. This was (or is) for new headquarters for the Police Ministry and Department. However, it was found that the deal never went out to tender, violating Treasury regulations that all contracts over R5,00 000 must go through a competitive bid process. There are many more that could be mentioned who despite criminal allegations against them, have not felt the might of the law.
A recurrent theme in all this is that, criminal activity is seen to be rewarded, rather than being punished. South Africa is a country in which the rule of law applies. This means that, “…individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law…” Something which is quite clearly not happening, meaning that the rule of law is being undermined- something we cannot allow. Not only should criminals be punished for justice to be served, but justice should be seen to be done by citizens. The moment this does not happen, we create an environment in which criminal behaviour is seen to be acceptable and without consequence.
That some are more equal than others, is something that needs to end. For the sake of the future of our beautiful country, the rule of law must be maintained and respected. After all, like Aristotle said more than two thousand years ago, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”