The FW de Klerk Foundation writes regular articles on topical issues, supports language and cultural rights and participates in the national debate on racial and cultural issues. The Foundation also promotes communication by holding conferences and workshops.
Twenty-five years have passed since the cold winter’s day in Oslo when Nelson Mandela and I were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In my acceptance speech I observed that peace was a frame of mind:
“It is a frame of mind in which countries, communities, parties and individuals seek to resolve their differences through agreements, through negotiation and compromise, instead of threats, compulsion and violence.”
I said that peace was also a framework.
“It is a framework consisting of rules, laws, agreements and conventions - a framework providing mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of the inevitable clashes of interest between countries, communities, parties and individuals. It is a framework within which the irresistible and dynamic processes of social, economic and political development can be regulated and accommodated.”
The United Nations (UN) has numerous days on the annual calendar dedicated to some or other cause or campaign. Many of these pass by almost unnoticed. International Anti-Corruption Day, commemorated on 9 December every year, should not be one of those. For South Africans, this day, is (unfortunately) all too real.
The UN brought together a number of nations 15 years ago to adopt the Convention Against Corruption. Today, 186 states are party to the Convention and subscribe to its anti-corruption goals and ideals. In terms of the Convention, nearly every country in the world has laws in place making corruption a crime. Every country has further committed, through the well-known Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “to reducing corruption and bribery, strengthening the recovery and return of stolen assets and developing effective, inclusive and transparent institutions”.
The full weight of expectation of the country now rests on newly-appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Advocate Shamila Batohi. Her appointment by President Ramaphosa on 4 December 2018, was received with both relief and hope that she will repair and lead the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) into a future that is unsullied.
The question of course is that of whether the nation pins its hope - yet again - on “a fixer”, in the absence of the drive to engage systematic and urgent change. Advocate Batohi comes to the position with impeccable credentials and minus the taint of some of her predecessors but will have to contend with an already overflowing inbox; a team that is politically divided and a mission to rejuvenate credibility in the criminal justice system. All this, at a time when too many South Africans appear to be jaded. However, history has proven again and again that South Africans are a feisty lot - with opinions to match - and the new NDPP will receive ample advice even in advance of her assumption of duties in February 2019.
The phenomenon of load-shedding is hanging over the festive season of 2018 like a dark cloud. For many, across the country, their festivities might happen by candlelight, which may add to the ambience but will predictably cast a shadow over any possible and much-needed economic recovery.
Naive South Africans believed that with a new President and a new Minister of Public Enterprises, plus a new Eskom Board, Eskom should be functioning optimally, and load-shedding was something of the past and would be over. The fact is that corruption and mismanagement cast a long shadow and cannot be turned around quickly. Additionally, incapable, inexperienced and corrupt officials (evidenced by the design faults at Medupi and Kusile) can’t be fired at will without the requisite due process, which is a supreme irony, considering the damage that they have caused. It is therefore important to state that the present load-shedding - with feeble excuses from Eskom about lack of capacity and needed maintenance, and uranium left out to get wet - is a bad hangover from the Zupta era. So is the fact that Eskom is in deep financial crisis and continuously dependent on State bail-outs.
The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the announcement by President Ramaphosa of Advocate Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). Advocate Batohi is well qualified and experienced to fulfil this significant role. This, at a time when the country is at a critical crossroads and the justice system cries out for an independent and fair-minded individual to fulfil the mandate of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). In line with section 179 of the Constitution, we trust that she will pursue her mandate without “fear, favour or prejudice”. Advocate Batohi has experience as a former Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal and has gained international exposure in her role as the Senior Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This latter experience we believe will be important, as it gives her the necessary distance and objectivity from matters facing prosecution.
2018 is almost over. December is a time for many South Africans to wrap things up and conclude business, to take some time off and to rest. But it is also a time of taking stock of the year and what was achieved - and to start thinking about what 2019 holds.
Call it a combination of wishes for Christmas presents and New Year’s resolutions, but if there are say, only five things that can be chosen, I would choose the following five for the country. It could be the recipe for success for South Africa in 2019.
It’s not unusual to hear people say “Cyril is not moving fast enough to fight and end State capture and corruption”. He should have sent so and so “to jail long ago…”
But is it that simple? And what is really happening?
One can accept President Ramaphosa’s bona fides that corruption and State capture must be stopped. He was and is on record that he is serious about it. His own actions and those of his close allies (such as Pravin Gordhan with the lifestyle audits for SOEs), testify to this.
A senior business leader recently shared with me while we were on a plane that the President estimates that there are 700 key posts in the public service occupied by Zuma confidants. So far this year, 150 better people have already been appointed, but the number that remain is still massive.
The FW de Klerk Foundation has noted with deep concern the majority decision of the Constitutional Review Committee yesterday to recommend to Parliament the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution.
The decision to amend the Constitution “to make explicit that which is implicit… Expropriation of land without Compensation as a legitimate option for Land Reform” is both substantively and procedurally wrong. It is clear that the outcome of the so-called democratic process was decided before the process began. The majority of the Committee did not take into account at all the very sensible and correct arguments of those who are opposed to expropriation without compensation (EWC), but rather followed an ideological and party-political line. The majority of the Committee has pushed the recommendation through, and in doing so has counted views rather than weighing them. This will cost the country dearly.