Moerane Commission: Take action against corrupt politicians, public servants and businessmen

20 September 2018 - 17:11 By BONGANI MTHETHWA
Premier Willies Mchunu released the eagerly-awaited Moerane Commission of Inquiry report into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.
Premier Willies Mchunu released the eagerly-awaited Moerane Commission of Inquiry report into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Jackie Clausen

An urgent investigation into politicians, public officials and businesspeople associated with corrupt activities in the public service must be a priority.

This is one of the recommendations in the controversial 425-page Moerane Commission of Inquiry report into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

The eagerly-awaited report was released by Premier Willies Mchunu in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday and was expected to shed more light about the underlying causes behind a spate of political killings which claimed many lives in the province, leaving in its wake widows, orphans and many other victims.

The commission‚ which cost taxpayers R15m‚ was set up by Mchunu to investigate a spate of killings in the province suspected to be politically motivated. It wrapped up its work in April after testimony from a range of organisations and individuals, and Mchunu received the Moerane Commission report in June and handed it over to the provincial legislature to process before releasing to the public on Thursday.

But the commission was severely criticised as a waste of taxpayers’ money, with its fiercest critics being Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the EFF.

The Zulu monarch questioned its establishment‚ arguing that intra-party killings were not politically motivated but acts of criminality while the EFF‚ which testified before the commission‚ also tore into its establishment‚ saying there were no political killings in the province but intra-party killings within the ANC, and that these were over resources.

In a summary of the report, Mchunu highlighted some of the recommendations including that corrupt activities and the criminal acts by politicians, public officials and people against whom there was evidence of corruption must be vigorously investigated, expeditiously prosecuted if found guilty and appropriately sentenced to avoid a culture of impunity.

The report found that this will not only help rebuild the confidence of the public in the public service but will also avoid a culture where people believe that they are politically protected from prosecution and punishment. The state must also ensure that institutions of the entire criminal justice system are immediately depoliticised.

The commission has also recommended that an inter-ministerial task force of the security cluster ministers be set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa to look into the political killings immediately and review the workings of the security agencies to ensure that coordination and coherence between them are reinforced in practice.

“The recruiting, training and deployment of police [must] be improved through ensuring that properly trained people are recruited, adequate and specialised training is given, and appropriate police be deployed in appropriate situations,” recommended the commission.

Other recommendations included that: 

  • Political parties must take responsibility for the violent competition between their members for political positions and power.
  • Political parties must immediately settle differences within and between themselves through peaceful means using negotiation, mediation and other consensus building techniques to avoid the continuing murder of politicians and public officials.
  • Political parties must discipline their members whose conduct encourages or results in political intolerance and violence, and where they are involved in or accomplices to killings, they must  be reported to the relevant law enforcement authorities.
  •  The state must urgently investigate the violation of the provision of Section 217 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and where necessary revise its procedures to ensure that it complies with the constitutional provisions of fairness, equity, transparency, competitiveness, and cost effectiveness.

The commission also recommended political education about democratic practices, universal practice of the peaceful political competition and that the state immediately take measures to depoliticise and professionalise the public service.

The state was also encouraged to rebuild a public service that is driven by the politics of service delivery and public service and not the politics of patronage and personal accumulation.

“The State must also take measures to immediately enforce the separation of powers, duties and functions between public representatives and public officials and hold each accountable professionally and criminally for their respective conduct.”

Political parties were encouraged to build a strong membership base “rooted in democratic values, political tolerance, sound moral values and service to the public” as to “reinforce a culture of adherence to and mobilisation along the lines of democratic principles and political programmes and not narrow ideas along the lines of political positions and power”.

They have also been encouraged to work with religious organisations, civil society organisations, the media, academics and any other appropriate institution to reverse the current culture of intolerance, violence and killing. Political parties must also enforce a strict code of conduct which prevent politicians, state officials and citizens from using language which incites hatred, prejudice and violence.

The Moerane Commission report will be referred to the national cabinet so that evidence and findings can be studied and recommendations implemented nationally.

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