Opinionista Omry Makgoale 6 July 2020

Flawed parliamentary system gave rise to State Capture

The Constitutional Court judgment in favour of the New Nation Movement’s bid to reform the voting system will go some way towards breaking the stranglehold that Luthuli House has on parliamentary and executive accountability.

Giving evidence before the Zondo Commission, Popo Molefe continues to reveal all the corruption that took place at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), under the nose or with the participation of ANC leadership. Molefe reveals that he personally informed the ANC top six at Luthuli House about corruption at Prasa and they did nothing about it. This should not come as a surprise.

The ANC top six under President Jacob Zuma were aware of the wrongs taking place right under their noses. Some ANC leaders kept quiet because they benefited financially and materially, some were quiet because of the lucrative jobs they had, and others were just outright cowards. 

The same revelations can be said about the ANC National Executive Committee members during this period. They knew the truth but did not have the courage to challenge the wrong in front of their eyes. They protected their selfish interests at the expense of the ANC. At the same time, the ANC’s good policies which were in place such as “Through the Eye of the Needle”, and structures such as the integrity commission, were ignored if not trampled upon. There was no will to adhere to the noble policies of the ANC. The Zuma era was characterised by greed displayed by ANC leaders, lack of integrity and the absence of deterrent measures after the police management and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were captured by nefarious and unscrupulous forces.

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Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is rightfully surprised and shocked at how such glaring corruption could have taken place in front of the ANC leaders. Where was their sense of responsibility? These are all manifestations of State Capture, the result of 100% proportional representation electoral laws whereby power is controlled by the party headquarters instead of by the voters.

With the ANC in office with a majority in the National Assembly, once you capture party headquarters you will consequently capture state power. The Guptas and the Watsons exploited the shortcomings of these parliamentary electoral laws. All they needed was to entice and corrupt Luthuli House, and then they had state power in the palms of their hands. 

Under the current parliamentary electoral laws, the Cabinet – like members of Parliament of the governing party – all take orders from Luthuli House. The voters, as citizens of South Africa, are used as voting fodder with no power to decide who should be their members of Parliament. This is why the NEC of the ANC, the PEC of the ANC, members of national and provincial assemblies were all taking orders and instructions from the deployment committee at Luthuli House.

Instead of holding the executive to account, ANC members of Parliament were taking orders from the executive. This is all because of the flawed parliamentary electoral laws. Thanks to the flawed electoral system, the former president was the employer of the Cabinet ministers and employer of ANC members of Parliament – not the voters, who pay their wages.

We say thanks to the New Nation Movement for successfully taking the matter of independent members of Parliament to the Constitutional Court. The direct elections of independent members of Parliament will go a long way to introduce individual accountability of politicians in South Africa. 

We need to follow through until the judgment of the Constitutional Court is implemented. This is the only way to prevent future State Capture. DM

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