Civil society is last hope to getting our state recaptured

18 July 2017 - 07:03 By The Times Editorial
Sipho Pityana
Sipho Pityana
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Now that it has become abundantly apparent that there is little hope of South Africa's hobbled prosecutors bringing the perpetrators of state capture to book, our last hope lies with civil society.

Initiatives which seek to mobilise the people to act against corruption are all that lie between democracy and a permanently compromised state.

Today one such initiative will get under way, appropriately on Mandela Day.

The Conference on the Future of SA will meet to discuss building a "broad front" against state capture.

What is breathtaking is the range of organisations that appear to be coalescing. The conference is hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and SaveSA and will include 400 delegates representing 100 civil society organisations and parties including the ANC and SACP.

It will mark an attempt to "recapture the state", according to Neeshan Bolton of the Kathrada Foundation.

Its first objective appears to be to attempt to have President Jacob Zuma removed by the vote of no confidence which is scheduled for parliament on August 8.

The real question is how the broad front will act beyond the parliamentary vote, assuming that this fails to remove Zuma.

SaveSA's Sipho Pityana has said that Zuma must face the legal consequences of his actions. But what can be done to ensure that this happens while the prosecution service and police investigators are themselves captured?

Instead of marching on Zuma, perhaps it is time to march on those who can do something about the problem - the prosecutors and the police.