A one-page Governance bill that can solve a few problems

By Branko Brkic 14 January 2010

South African lawmakers have over the last 15 years failed to solve the problem of politicians being businessmen at the same time. We’ve decided to help.

Everywhere in the world, to get into business, the first step is usually to go to business school. But not here in South Africa. To get into business in South Africa, you have to start in politics.

Witness ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa who, just last week, became non-executive director of Jubilee Platinum. Phosa claims there is no conflict of interest.

But Phosa is now effectively referee and player – just as many of his colleagues in the ANC are. When legislation requiring platinum mines to conform to environmental standards comes before Parliament (or one of its “select committees”), will Phosa’s fight be for the environment or for his wallet?

Already, there are too many examples of government regulations failing, conceivably because they clashed with the business interests of senior ANC members. This must stop. Here is a one-page piece of legislation that could achieve this objective. Since it took us merely a morning to produce, surely even the SA Parliament could pass it within, say, 16 years. Or could they?

Here’s the The Daily Maverick’s Governance Bill:


The Governance bill is brought to you by Tim Cohen.


"Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences which divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison you. Reach out. Freedom lies just on the other side." ~ Thurgood Marshall