Accountability Now, an NGO dedicated to exacting accountability and upholding the constitution in South Africa, is calling on voters to focus on the issue of corruption, when making their mark at the voting stations on 1 November 2021.
“The notion of accountability, which is foundational to our constitutional order, has not been given sufficient attention in the new South Africa - those in positions of authority and power should be made to explain their decisions and justify their actions to the people they serve,” says Paul Hoffman SC, director of Accountability Now.
Hoffman believes that the voters in the upcoming local government elections can make accountability really matter: “Voters have it in their power to insist that the party of their choice should have a clear idea of what it intends to do, as a matter of urgency, to eliminate corruption, prosecute the corrupt and rake back the trillions that have been stolen from our coffers.”
“The massive problems voters face such as joblessness, inequality, poverty, GBV, lack of proper housing, inadequate educational facilities and limping healthcare, as well as the short delivery of various services involved in the proper provision of other human rights guaranteed to all, are attributable largely to the diversion of public funds to the corrupt on an industrial scale in SA, today and in the recent past. Corruption is theft from the poor. It is directly malnourishing and killing the most vulnerable,” says Hoffman.
Accountability Now argues that if corruption is addressed properly and the stolen loot is recovered via litigation, negotiation, and mediation with orange overalls issued to the looters, the funds needed for many aspects of service delivery will become available .
“While corruption is ignored or allowed and tolerated, jobs will continue to be hard to come by, and new job-creating investments will not be made by key international investors. Business confidence will continue to stay at an all-time low along with the value of the rand stuck in the doldrums. The junk status of our financial instruments and the moribund state of economic activity in SA will continue. The problems, challenges and misery of poverty and inequality will persist. All of this is, at least in part, due to the prevalence of corruption,” says Hoffman.
Accountability Now has also been lobbying for the establishment of a dedicated Chapter Nine Integrity Commission to prevent, combat, investigate and prosecute the corrupt as a matter of urgency.
Hoffman says that voters cannot conscionably vote for any party that is not clearly committed to taking on the corrupt in clear and urgent terms. “Electioneering is full of empty promises - Do not be fooled by lip service. Look at detail and commitment. Insist on a clear commitment to reform with a clear action plan.”
The future trajectory of our country is in the hands of voters. By voting for those parties that are most convincing in their commitment to being against corruption and to tackling it as a matter of priority, the voters can make a difference that counts.
Written By Paul Hoffman SC, director of Accountability Now