Mogoeng Mogoeng launches blistering attack on corrupt, self-serving leaders
In a scathing attack on corrupt, self-serving leaders and biased media reporting, chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called on all South Africans not to allow themselves to be manipulated, and to be vocal about challenges facing the country.
Speaking at a 67 Minutes leadership talk on Wednesday to commemorate former statesman Nelson Mandela, Mogoeng said resolving the country’s key challenges required everyone to reflect on how they could contribute towards the eradication of corruption, crime, unethical leadership and poor governance.
“Things have gone wrong and we were watching. We were too concerned about our careers, our money-making opportunities and possibilities to ascend to positions of leadership, more than we were about the plight of the suffering masses of SA, Africa and the developing world,” Mogoeng said at the event hosted by the People Matter Foundation.
South Africans, he said, were made to believe that corruption happened only in the public sector and that it was a racial phenomenon.
“We will never be able to defeat corruption for as long as we allow ourselves to be choreographed into believing that corruption can only be in the public sector or that it’s a black thing. Every human being is capable of being corrupt.
“If we are to uproot corruption from SA and around the world, we’ve got to accept as reality that there are masters of corruption everywhere, even in the church of God,” Mogoeng said.
Dealing with corruption required South Africans to move away from “beautifying” leaders at the expense of others.
“It will be a disservice to this nation if we were ever to allow ourselves to believe that once we’ve dealt with the Gupta situation, we’ve dealt with corruption. It’s a fallacy.
“Mandela stood for the ideal of a truly democratic and free society and you and I need to allow ourselves to be captured by the ideal of a democratic and free society,” said Mogoeng.
He said South Africans needed to think about how capture happened.
“There’s no free lunch. You may get free lunch for R1,000 but once I begin to give R1m, R3m … there’ll be pay back time … It’s an investment.”
Mogoeng also warned against leaders who did not take kindly to their unethical actions being challenged.
“When people benefit from wrongdoing, they fight any attempt to dislodge them. When people reach a level where they are prepared to make money and to ascend to power by any means necessary, don’t think that they will smile at you when you try to rock the boat. I know many are prepared to kill for money and even for positions … What Mandela-like ideal you are prepared to die for?”
Mogoeng said he had made an observation that some political analysts were not allowed in certain media houses when certain issues were to be discussed.
“There is a cohort of carefully selected analysts and you can tell in advance when this one appears, there is a particular narrative that is going to be championed. That is not how to build a country. You need objectivity,” Mogoeng said.
“I beg you all; let us stop outsourcing our thinking responsibilities. Let us stop accepting as fact anything that is dished out to us …”
Mogoeng called on the country to “work hard” in harmonising relations between black and white South Africans.
“It’s a betrayal of the cause for which Nelson Mandela suffered for us to perpetuate division rather than seek to achieve national unity and reconciliation.”