South Africa, despite its relatively high crime rate, is a shining example of a country that is always willing and able to uphold the principles of the rule of law and justice for all. No wonder the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) shortly after its independence to ensure that a foundation was laid for open and meaningful discussions aimed at genuine regrets, admissions and finally reconciliation. Learning that an independent panel of experts to probe the Phala Phala farm matter is established again proves that country’s commitment in upholding the rule of law. The fact that the candidates who will be serving on this independent panel are nominated by various political parties represented in the South African parliament even speaks more volumes about transparency and accountability.
Financial crimes in Namibia over many years never received the punishment/s they deserved, especially when such crimes are committed under politically well-connected and orchestrated moves. At times one often wonders about Fishrot, which most probably also would have gone unnoticed and under the radar had it not been for a foreigner exposing this high-profile and sophisticated financial crime. Other equally or perhaps even more serious and covered-up financial crimes are those such as the one involving the Offshore Development Corporation (ODC) with N$300 million, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME Bank) with N$600 million, Avid with N$30 million, and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) with more the N$150 million, Kora awards with about N$23 million and the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF)’s N$300 million. These are hundreds and millions of taxpayers’ money that enriched a few well-connected individuals and groups. Imagine if that money could have been traced what it would mean for Namibia’s social and economic development. The question is, what are we as stakeholders doing, or are we even doing enough to stop and hold accountable thieves who steal money belonging to Namibia’s electorate and taxpaying citizens?
The formula quite often used by our head of state seems like it still needs to come into action. If this formula was working even at the lowest level of decision- making processes, citizens by now would have had trust in the system. Learning from many short message services (SMS), social engagements, opinion letters and radio call-in programmes over the years, it’s quite evident that accountability and transparency is still lacking behind in our democratic system. South Africa is much bigger geographically and population-wise, but also the most industrialised nation on the African continent. So, there is no way one can compare the two countries with regards to some social, economic and political aspects. But our sister country continues to show commitment in holding each and every citizen accountable - not even excluding the most highest person/s of the nation. With the prevailing peace, democracy and rule of law, Namibia is supposed to ensure that no one is above the law, especially when it comes to politically-motivated and orchestrated financial crimes.