This week the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said it has not closed dockets concerning three ministers facing allegations of corruption.
In a statement, ACC said the dockets remain open for a decision to probe the allegations, provided any person comes with evidence implicating the ministers in criminal wrongdoing.
We were taken aback by the assertion that seems to suggest that any further probe into these allegations is conditional to any person coming forth with evidence of criminality.
The approach of relying on such persons, who in some instances probably do not even exist, is impractical and does not meaningfully help efforts to combat corruption in the country.
The ACC has been in existence for long enough now to have a more practical and meaningful method of investigating corruption, rather than relying on ghosts to pop up at its doorstep with piles of evidence against accused individuals.
We are no experts in the field that ACC operates in, but anyone with an iota of brains would know the commission has to rely on its own initiatives to dig up evidence, if any, of wrongdoing.
ACC must take the war to the alleged perpetrators themselves rather than relying on unknown volunteers to provide smoking-gun evidence of corruption.
The combative tone of the ACC statement, which thinly suggests that journalists must provide concrete evidence of their writings in order for the commission to investigate, is a non-starter.
The journalists’ obligation ends with putting in the public domain what is being alleged against public officials. Anything further than that would be a bonus – not an obligation.
The “he who smelt it dealt it” approach, which essentially suggests that journalists must produce granular details of allegations they wrote about public officials, is simply not on.
Not particularly when we operate in a country that still uses the Protection of Information Act 84 of 1982, which seeks to provide for the protection from disclosure of public information.
Journalists are still waiting with bated breath the enactment of the access to information law - to replace the existing draconian apartheid law that places a lid on information regarding the activities of public officials.
Like ACC often advises, the fight against corruption is not a job of the commission alone. The media in this country meets the commission halfway already by coming out with news every morning pointing to activities that smacks of corruption and abuse.
That is the industry’s contribution to the fight. In this relay run against abuse of national resources, it is our natural expectation that ACC takes it from there to investigate further.
New Era Reporter
2019-04-26 09:18:04 | 5 months ago