Durban - Former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday that Parliament needed to be more vigilant and monitor what elected leaders are getting up to in office.
Madonsela was speaking virtually during a DA live broadcast on Wednesday about the State Capture Report released by Justice Raymond Zondo earlier this year. DA leader John Steenhuisen was also in attendance.
The broadcast was hosted by DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube.
“I think Parliament is one of the dimensions of the state that did not step up and play its part. I think part of it is the PR, the PR arrangement in which people are loyal to their party, instead of loyal to democracy and their people.
“The second thing is the toxic relationship between parties and Parliament and I think now when we start after the next State of the Nation Address (Sona), I would recommend that leaders in Parliament come together to agree on what is common ground. Do we all believe that corruption is wrong? Do we all believe that there should be consequences for corruption?
“Do we all believe that social justice is a Constitutional mandate and that if we don't make progress on social justice, those who are corrupt are going to leverage it and weaponise it against the advances we want to make in the rule of law/” Madonsela asked.
While the former PP says she is “happy” the Zondo Commission has delivered its preliminary view in the form of the state capture report, it still does not answer the question as to whether the state was hijacked or not.
Steenhuisen shared Madonesela’s remarks relating to Parliament's poor oversight and said it was because of “its teeth being stripped out” over the years.
“When President Mandela was President of the Republic, we would have President’s questions every two weeks. Oral questions for the President, you would have a thing called interpolation where you would be able to take on a Minister in an unscripted way. Unscripted questions.
“Committees were far more vigilant, but as these oversight mechanisms became uncomfortable for the ANC and for the governing party, they started to pull those teeth out. We then went once a month under President Mbeki to four times a year under President Zuma and President Ramaphosa.
“So Parliament is going to have to sit down and ask itself how do we become a more effective watchdog against corruption,” Steenhuisen said.
The State Capture Report was handed over by Judge Zondo to President Ramaphosa on January 4, which Ramaphosa described as a defining moment for the country.
The report, which focuses on how state owned entities and structures of government were manipulated for profit, is set to be released in three volumes.
The first volume covered South African Airways and companies associated with it, while volume two deals with the Gupta-owned media company the New Age, among other entities.
Other volumes will also focus on the dismantling and manipulation of the South African Revenue Service (Sars).