All the advice Cyril needs on corruption

David Bullard says you don't need an advisory council to know you have to prosecute the culprits


Last week Pres Frogboiler announced yet another body of ‘experts’ to help him in his constant quest to avoid ever having to make a decision on anything.

This time it was something called the ‘National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council’ and it will be the job of this nine-member boondoggle to advise the Pres on strategies to fight corruption.

I mean no disrespect to the members of this newly formed council because I am sure they are all honourable people with only the best interests of South Africa at heart. But do we really need them?

We’ve witnessed the most appalling corruption imaginable over the past fifteen years. We’ve apparently spent well over a billion rand on the Zondo commission and we all have a pretty good idea who the bad guys are and how much they have enriched themselves.  ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

The creaking machinery of the legal system has just started to arrest a few of the prime suspects and fix court dates and, while it may be rather too early to celebrate, it does appear that one or two people might be wearing orange overalls before too long.

But there will be plenty who won’t, and we all know who they are. Many still sit as members of parliament convinced that their cadre status will protect them.

Apart from the Zondo commission there has been no shortage of pretty solid evidence dished up by some of our more tenacious investigative journalists. In fact, hardly a day goes by without another horror story of theft and corruption on an epic scale, usually at the expense of the poorest of the poor.

We know that corruption is rife in most of the state-owned enterprises and that many municipalities are barely functional because any funds they may have once had have been diverted to luxury car dealerships.

Those doing the stealing don’t even attempt to hide the fact preferring to flaunt their opulent lifestyles in the faces of those from whom they have stolen. It still beggars belief that the ‘alleged’ beneficiaries of the VBS Mutual bank scam haven’t been brought to book after all this time and are able to sit as members of parliament.

I’ve read that the nine members of this Anti-Corruption Advisory Council will not be remunerated and are doing this on a voluntary basis. If true this is very noble of them but surely there will be costs involved, even if they are out of pocket expenses. And what incentive is there to throw yourself wholeheartedly into such dull and thankless work if you’re not getting paid?

So what will the Frogboiler be getting for our money I wonder?

Not much I suspect, or at least not much more than a heavy dose of common sense and a bit more determination to tackle the problem head on couldn’t solve.

Given that corruption exists and that we often know who is involved surely it would be money better spent to bolster the resources of the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks rather than to fritter it away on what will inevitably be seen as a toothless waffle shop with no legal powers.

When I read an airy-fairy comment like this from one of the newly appointed members it doesn’t fill me with great hope:

"We need to effect behavioural change in the communities so people become resistant to corruption. I look forward to contributing to this,"

That’s all very well but what about the current crop of crooks who haven’t had the benefit of this behavioural change?

The problem with all government appointed advisory bodies is that they are highly likely to tell their employers what they want to hear. So if the Frogboiler wants to tread gently on the corruption issue for fear of upsetting his comrades then the advisory council will no doubt come up with a lengthy report (that nobody will read) laying the blame for corruption at the door of Jan van Riebeeck or blaming the ‘legacy of apartheid’.

Of course, the other strategic reason for appointing this advisory council is that the Frogboiler can now honestly respond that he can’t start rounding up the crooks until he’s studied the recommendations of the council.

It’s a wonderfully typical ANC delaying tactic and particularly useful should you be fighting a leadership election in a few months’ time. Rather as we are all having to wait for due legal process to take its course to learn more about the Phala Phala affair we will no doubt be told that nothing further can be done about rampant corruption until the nine person advisory body say so.

Meanwhile, it will be business as usual.

If we really do want to tackle corruption in this country there is only one way to do it and that is through the courts. It’s all very well to talk about the social fabric and the societal reasons for corruption but what most South Africans want is to see the guilty stripped of their ill-gotten gains and punished.

That simply doesn’t happen and the probability of Jacob Zuma appearing in court to answer questions about the arms deal going way back to the 1990s is about as likely as a Gay Pride March in Kabul.

Not surprisingly this doesn’t fill your average Saffer with much confidence in government. Neither does it do much to inspire new investment. So the only people to win are the corrupt themselves and what do they have to lose if they know that they are untouchable by virtue of their political connections?

What should have happened years ago is that the problem should have been nipped in the bud. Special courts should have been set up to satisfy the requirement that justice must be swift and be seen to be done.

Nonsense appeals for medical parole shouldn’t even have been a remote possibility and the absurdly early release of convicted fraudsters such as Tony Yengeni should never have been allowed to happen.

The fact that Yengeni was later made the chair of the ANC’s Crime and Corruption committee tells you all you need to know about how seriously the ruling party take this matter.

If the newly formed National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council are short of ideas as to how to tackle the problem I’m sure there are many other patriotic South Africans who would be more than happy to advise the Frogboiler.


Motorsport enthusiasts are disappointed that South Africa won’t be hosting a F1 Grand Prix in 2023. There was hope that the Kyalami Race Track would host the first F1 in Africa for thirty years but the cost of upgrading the track to the satisfaction of the guys who run this sport and the strong possibility that anyone bankrolling a local F1 would go broke killed the deal for now.

Which is not to say it won’t happen in 2024 when a lot of other things might well be happening. The other concern was whether the event would actually pay for itself.

Ticket prices would also be too high (some suggested R5 000) for the local market. You need 100 000 spectators apparently to make the thing viable and Kyalami can’t accommodate that number. Then there were the logistical problems of where the teams would safely park their luxury motorhomes and hospitality suites with minimal chance of having them either torched or broken into during the night. We’d hate to look second rate when it comes to the next season of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’.

However all is not lost and maybe we should come up with an event that is uniquely South African and if ‘Drive to Survive’ hadn’t already been taken it would have been a perfect title. The route would be from Somerset West to Cape Town on the N2 and it wouldn’t be so much of a race as an endurance test.

Apart from getting sideswiped by a taxi driving in the emergency lane, drivers would need to be able to avoid wandering cattle, burning Golden Arrow buses, carjackers and service delivery protest marches. Those arriving at the Cape Town Convention Centre with normal blood pressure and minimal marks on the car get a podium position.