Every now and then we read of the latest anti-corruption measures from Government. With great fanfare they announce a new anti-corruption Act, or that it is their mission to have "clean" government. We sort of got used to it and may I say, cynical too. After all, only an idiot believes what the spin doctors tell him.
The Acts are all long haired liberal solutions which only a fat politician and a few law professors will come up with. I said so time and time again, on this forum and in my legal books, that an Act which is not enforced is not worth the paper written on. It is also a founding principle in law that no Act is enabled without the presumption that it will be enforced - otherwise it has no meaning - a waste of time. Furthermore, no-one is above the law though that is debatable in real life. I am also on record to say that a rich man has a much better chance in court than a poor one.
It is all about money. The poor cannot afford good lawyers. Full stop. They have access to one, appointed by the court, who is, with all respect, still learning his trade. It is what you do when you start off in the legal profession and is called "pro deo" work. Yes, they are qualified but believe you me, unless you practiced a good few years, your fancy law degrees and law school and passing of the bar exams means nothing. You need, as in all jobs & professions, experience. Still it is better than nothing and makes the long hair liberals feel good about life: "See how good our system works - all accused have the right to an attorney." Yes, but the attorney is inexperienced, overworked and has a f you attitude. Same with all the anti-corruption Acts: "See this here Act of Parliament; it complies with all of the UN (known to me as the Incompetents) regulations on corruptions blah blah blah." Yes, but it is not enforced or if enforced, selectively. So what is the use? Wasting time! The UN, by the way, is as corrupt an institution as any of our state departments. They also fail their audits every year and will try to do better next year.
Seriously, what do these big word Acts mean if the culprits carry on regardless? The answer is, of course, nothing. They have an excellent chance to get away with it. When I wrote Basic Home Security I took a look at the curse of South Africa - armed robberies or "home invasions" in American. Turns out they have a 92% chance of getting away with it. Or in other words, for every 100 crimes, 8 will be arrested and sentenced. These are pathetic statistics and the reason it will increase.
This past week I read 35 Billion Rand (3.5 billion USD) was wasted by the Department of Public Works. This is a government department who is supposed to control all the public buildings to a certain international standard, as set out by law. Where you can go to without fear of being contaminated and be proud of your country. Yes, but they don't even know where each building or property is. There is no honest register to tell you what the State owns and what not. They lost control decades ago.
And now, 35 Billion Rand is wasted in a little over 12 years. What does "wasted" mean? It is not a legal word. Misspent perhaps? Fact is it is gone. Of course it is all Apartheid's fault. How, I would not know. After 20 years of misgovernment and staggering from one crisis to another you would have thought the word "accountability" would be the order of the day, but no. It is all Apartheid’s fault and to say otherwise means you are a racist who just doesn't understand Africa or Africans (of which I am one). That is the last resort argument of any defeated long haired liberal - the same as the Antisemitism argument. Say anything negative about Israel and you must be a concentration camp descendant who slays Jewish babies to drink their blood or worse. It is ridiculous and bully boy tactics. In law we look at the opposition's defense - if it is technical - you know they are desperate and have no real defense. Your own client is then probably telling the truth for you never really know. Of course, a technical defense will also work and is allowed - it does not influence the court who also knows this.
Now I see the State have a brilliant new scheme. They will now "name and shame" the culprits. This is something which works well in the UK which is probably where they got the idea from. So I smell an overpaid and unwelcome UK adviser here? One who really and genuinely knows nothing of Africa? Who knows and who cares? I am on record on that aspect too.
The "name and shame" game works like this. In simple terms, when you are caught out, you are named and hopefully shamed into penance or something. But there is a catch, you must have some kind of honor before that would work - something these people are not exactly known for. In addition, if prosecuted, their names will be available to the general public anyway. So what does the "name and shame" campaign means to me? Nothing! It is just another attempt to deflect justifiable criticism away from the department. Mark my words, within a month it will be business as usual and then next year, when they fail their audits again, as they probably have done since 1995, the same old "name & shame" campaign will be remembered and dusted off to sell to the naive public. A really good long hair liberal solution as is expected...sounds nice, no results, and business as usual. Look how we resolved the issues! :)
Oh and the good news? Only a couple of billion was actually stolen. The rest was just wasted. Still unsure what that means but anyway. It does not make me feel much better but then I suppose, if you decided to stay and not to emigrate, you should understand this is Africa and such things are only to be expected. Sadly, it was not always like this and it should not be expected either. There was a time when such revelations would have forced resignations and genuine shame on those in charge. But as I said in another blog, there is no shame. A nation which is willing to beg money from rich white Americans, will never be able to feed themselves or rule themselves properly. We have a long way to go down before any changes will occur and it will not be in my lifetime. Nor in the next generation and most probably never. The dream is rapidly becoming a nightmare.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.