16 July 2014.
Speaking in yesterday's Budget Vote Debate on
the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the
IFP's Dr Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini, MP launched a daring
challenge to Government to fight corruption with certain tough,
proven methods, which have not yet been used. The Hon. Dr
Ambrosini made the following statement -
"During this debate, as
in many of the debates of the Department of Justice in prior
years and, unfortunately, in many of the debates of this
Department in future years, the issue of corruption appears to
be central. We are debating it in recognition of its importance.
The real issue is whether we can do something
over and above debating it. I, for one, believe that there is
nothing wrong with the legislation we have adopted. We have good
laws on the books. The process of implementing those laws has
been extraordinarily difficult, and we have reached a critical
point where corruption can no longer be defeated because the
burden of enforcing the law has become greater than the
administrative capacity dedicated to that purpose. We must
become realists and do the unpalatable.
If we look at the situation of Nkandla, to
which reference was made earlier, it is clear that we are
dealing not only with the activity of corruption, but the
culture of corruption. Unless we do something radical and
dramatic, and we turn the page, nothing is going to change.
Corruption has become a way of doing business.
The IFP made a
suggestion several years ago and I want to make it again,
because, when everything else fails, perhaps what seems to be
outrageous can become meaningful and worth considering. We need
to have a general amnesty on corruption; something that
highlights the fact that the past is the past.
We have had 20
years of changing the country from an apartheid situation to a
democratic situation. Many things went right and many went
wrong. Let us ascribe 20 years of corruption and pillaging of
State resources to what went wrong. Let us promote a general
amnesty that highlights the fact that what was done yesterday
can no longer be done tomorrow. We also need to commit ourselves
to turning a new page in the enforcement of corruption. If we
clear the slate from the past, we can have structures dedicated
to ensuring that, in the future, not a single instance of
corruption will be tolerated.
We must adopt what has proven to
be the most effective form of combating corruption. Consistent
with our constitutional order, we must adopt something like the
Anti-Corruption Commission in Hong Kong; a dedicated and
specially tasked commission, with international expertise and
expertise from all segments of society, which has no respect for
any established authority and cannot be intimidated. It will
prosecute corruption wherever it happens and no matter who is
involved, and will apply the laws we have, which are adequate.
There is a third element being formed within our society. We
give our money to the Government to build roads, educate our
children, heal the sick and attend to all other public
functions; not to build complexes like Nkandla. If that is how
our money is used, it is about time for a tax revolt. There are
people in South Africa who are organising a tax revolt. Make no
mistake, it takes one single action of skipping one single cycle
of VAT, and the entire system collapses.
We the people, we the taxpayers, still have
the final say on whether or not this society can operate. There
must be a new social compact where there is agreement reached
that we turn the page. What went on, went on; but there is a
general amnesty. We have a new approach to the future based on
effective mechanisms of enforcement of the laws we have on the
books - failing which, we will need to go back to a negotiating
posture, because the scenario of a tax revolt will force
Government to realise that the money it spends, wastes and
squanders is not Government money. It's our money, given to the
Government to govern."
Contact: Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini MP on 082