Mr. President when you see a leak in a Ship you don’t act until the Ship has sunk, when you see smoke in a house you don’t act until everything and everyone in that house has been burned to ashes – Mahomed Farouk Cassim
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA
Dear President Ramaphosa
You promised us a new dawn. You promised to uphold the Constitution.
Again and again, the courts have shown how remiss the ANC has been in upholding the Constitution. In particular, the courts have repeatedly pointed out the failure of the government to act rationally and intelligently.
Some of your ministers and some of the senior officials in government have been implicated in gross acts of criminality the nature and extent of which have stunned the nation.
To procrastinate in the circumstances defies rationality. One acts as soon as a leak is detected, not when the ship is sinking. Similarly one acts proactively when smoke is detected, not when the fire has begun to rage. A stitch in time, as you very well know, saves nine.
Any president who is committed to upholding the Constitution and who is therefore determined to act without fear or favour would have ordered the immediate suspension of those who are implicated. The second step would be to request the HAWKS to investigate the allegations and where the circumstances warrant, to charge the offenders and bring them to court.
As you very well know, Mr President, politics is all about perception.
Right now, listening to the various commissions sitting in our country, the overwhelming perception is that people in high office are deeply mired in acts of unbelievable corruption. It is systemic. Under the given circumstances every allegation of serial corruption has every likelihood of being credible. After all, corruption has been scaled up to the point of being categorised “state capture”.
In Africa, the fastest way for people to acquire wealth, ill-gotten wealth at that, is through the political office they hold or high civil service appointments they have. This is common cause. Therefore, when suspicion is raised, alacrity of action is needed for the government to remain credible.
The modus operandi thus far has been to allow bribes to be taken by a protected elite who would then pass on some portion of what they had received under the table to the party to boost its election war-chest. It was kosher to do it this way. Sadly, it isn’t like this is not known.
For a long time, the government has been under pressure from civic organisation and COPE to pass legislation to allow for disclosure of funds to a political party. Here too, Mr President you delayed signing the bill into law as long as you could so that the ANC could fight one more election, perhaps the most critical in its existence, before the ACT becomes implementable.
All of this does not augur well for the future.
Like Caesar’s wife, you should be above reproach. Your hands should be clean. You understand what it is to carry the burden of accusation as happened with Marikana and which continues to linger undiminished.
Therefore, Mr President, let us not resort to court judgments to get you to do what is right and ration. Let it be out of your own volition so that it becomes a credit to you, not a further accusation. Please suspend those who are implicated and initiate police action against them without any delay.
By Mahomed Farouk Cassim