The constitutional democracy that we South Africans established 22 years ago after so many years of division and conflict is experiencing a serious crisis.
President Zuma and his faction within the ANC are threatening the future of our democracy by seizing control of key state institutions primarily for the promotion of their own personal and political agendas. These institutions include the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Hawks and various branches of the security establishment. They are using these institutions to prosecute and intimidate opponents - outside and inside the ANC - who have had the courage to oppose and expose their unconstitutional activities.
They now clearly also wish to gain control of the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury, which they regard as some of the last obstacles in their path to the unfettered pursuit of their personal and political goals.
Under this regime the floodgates of corruption have been thrown wide open. Business people associated with the ruling group, including the Gupta family, have, according to a number of credible sources, acquired substantial influence in the financial decisions of the state - and even in the appointment of key cabinet ministers.
As we saw with the dismissal of Minister Nene last year - and as we now observe with the vendetta of the Hawks against Minister Pravin Gordhan - these developments are pushing South Africa inexorably closer to a catastrophic downgrade by the ratings agencies.
I call on the many decent members and leaders of the ANC to stand up for the principles on which their movement was founded and to take the lead in putting an end to “state capture” and to restoring a system of constitutional governance that is open, accountable and responsive. I call on all South Africans to say a resounding “no” to current attempts by President Zuma and his supporters to undermine our constitutional democracy.
Comment by former President FW de Klerk
Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation