“Today’s [Wednesday’s] High Court judgement overturning the Seriti Commission’s whitewashing of arms deal corruption is important because it demonstrates that although the wheels of justice have been turning almost imperceptibly slowly, they are not entirely broken. The rule of law prevails,” she said.
“The court’s judgment presents a new opportunity to demonstrate that in South Africa all citizens, irrespective of power or connectivity, are governed by the same laws and Constitution, and held to equal standards and account.”
De Lille said had their been action against those who were implicated in corruption in the arms deal, it would have prevented the looting of state coffers in later years.
“Among our biggest mistakes has been our failure to bring crooks in the State system to book. It begun with the arms deal. Had we drawn a legal line in the sand and slammed the door on corruption 20 years ago we would have prevented much of the looting of the State that followed.”
Judge President Dustan Mlambo had ruled that the manner in which the commission approached witnesses at the commission represented as a “complete failure”.
The commission was established in 2011 by former president Jacob Zuma to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package.
Mlambo said the commission appeared to treat statements from those accused of corruption as facts whereas it treated statements from critics of the arms deal as mere allegations.
African News Agency (ANA)