Johannesburg - The DA is set to introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill to establish an independent corruption-fighting state organ that will be shielded from political interference.
DA MP Glynis Breytenbach on Thursday announced that the official opposition is organising an International Anti-Corruption day webinar hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), associated with Germany’s outgoing governing party, the Christian Democratic Union, and Accountability Now. It will be themed: “Anti-Corruption Efforts in South Africa Today”.
Breytenbach said the official opposition supported the idea of an independent corruption-fighting organ, which would be housed in Chapter 9 of the Constitution, alongside institutions such as the Public Protector, Auditor-General, SA Human Rights Commission and the Electoral Commission of SA, among others.
She said this would help put the proposed new institution outside the realm of political interference, and allow it to be able to recruit skilled people who would enjoy the security of tenure.
According to Breytenbach, this process is under way and that she hopes to have the Constitutional Amendment Bill ready early in the new year.
She said the bill would have to go to Parliament’s constitutional review committee.
˝It’s a tedious process… We hope to have the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services supporting the bill. I’m hoping to convince other parties to support the bill and that we will be successful in that regard,” Breytenbach said.
Accountability Now trustee, Ghalib Galant, said the planned new Chapter 9 institution would have to be specialised, independent and well-resourced.
He said the National Prosecuting Authority’s Independent Directorate was a temporary institution and not independent.
Galant suggested that there must be a push for a specialised organ to take forward what has been started by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet also weighed in on International Anti-Corruption Day, whose theme for 2021 is: “Your right, your role: Say no to corruption”, noting that corruption, whether large or small, remains one of the greatest challenges facing the country and is holding back economic growth and social development.
It announced that Justice Zondo was scheduled to submit his final report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on New Year’s Day.
˝The Cabinet anticipates that in addition to exposing the perpetrators of corruption, this report will also provide us with proposals to strengthen our systems to prevent corruption,” reads its statement.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has instituted several high court and Special Tribunal cases including 56 in the high court, involving contracts amounting to R62 billion, 64 in the Special Tribunal for deals worth R6.99 billion.
The amounts or values are the contractual amounts that were irregularly and unlawfully awarded by state institutions, and which form the subject of the litigation by the SIU, according to the Cabinet.
In the current financial year, the SIU has already frozen pension benefits of former public servants, bank accounts and assets of individuals and businesses amounting to more than R43bn.