Civil society organisations on Monday held a People’s Tribunal on Economic Crime at Constitution Hill, in Johannesburg, in an effort to uncover more evidence of how the Arms Deal, State capture and apartheid activities have affected people on the ground.
The tribunal was organised by the likes of Corruption Watch, Open Secrets, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Public Affairs Research Institute, Equal Education and Right to Know, all of which have been at the forefront in forcing government to take action against corruption.
Role players in the Arms Deal included the former Defence Minister Joe Modise, former Enterprises Minister Stella Sigcau, President Jacob Zuma, Shabir Shaik and many organisations from abroad.
Right To Know’s Access to Information focus group member Alfred Tshabalala said the tribunal was very important as it aimed to uncover the truth about what really took place in distorted deals such as the Arms Deal and how this has affected people on the ground.
“It is a shame that these deals that happen at high levels, including government departments, cause irreparable damage to people on the ground. With this tribunal we aim to uncover more evidence and if needs be we would have to involve the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) so that the monies used unlawfully would be uncovered and used for the projects intended for,” said Tshabalala.
He also mentioned that should there be a need to add more charges on Zuma’s Arms’ Deal charge sheet this should happen.
The African National Congress is currently under pressure to make a decision on whether it removes Zuma to avoid the situation of two centres of power or lets him deliver the upcoming State of the Nation Address.
Either way, another vote of no confidence brought by opposition parties on February 22 awaits Zuma.
Speaking on what is at stake in these matters of corruption, Tshabalala highlighted the case of the child who accidentally fell into a hole used as a toilet in Limpopo and said that it was unfortunate that the funds that were initially issued during government budgetary processes to build the toilets were pocketed by corrupt officials.
“People need to account for their corrupt dealings and we hope that this tribunal will be able to enforce that to the NPA,” he said.