Johannesburg — The Justice and Peace Commission for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has endorsed the anti-corruption march set for September 30.
The commission further questioned Government’s seriousness to curb corruption.
“We believe that the Government is not doing enough to demonstrate that it is serious in its efforts to prevent and combat corruption. Political rhetoric is often not accompanied by decisive action,” says Bishop Abel Gabuza, Chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission.
Bishop Gabuza expressed concern on the lack of decisive action in implementing the decision of the Constitutional Court calling for effective measures to enhance the independence of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks).
In 2012 the Constitutional Court found that the Hawks were not adequately independent from political interference and ordered rectifying legislation.
“The Government has dragged its feet when it comes to the restructuring of the Hawks to protect it from undue political interference as directed by the Constitutional Court,” added Bishop Gabuza.
The Bishop observed that corruption will only be eliminated successfully if certain conditions are met.
“We have always maintained that our country will only succeed in combating corruption when anti-corruption institutions are adequately protected from executive and political interference; when competent people are appointed to head these institutions; and when the high-level politicians and those politically connected are held to account for corruption,” Bishop Gabuza stated.
In May this year Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko appointed a task team to oversee the process of strengthening the independence of the Hawks. The task team has been given April 2016 as a target for completion of institutional reform of the Hawks.
The Commission observed that the Minister has promised the reform shall include establishment of the Hawks as an independent budget programme to ensure that there are no malicious budget cuts when the institution is investigating powerful political officials.
“We need to revive the national conversation around the best institutional location of the Hawks. We also call for greater involvement of Parliament in the appointment of the head of the Hawks. Concentration of the appointment powers in the Police Minister, without some form of parliamentary oversight, does not sit well with the independence of the Hawks,” Bishop Gabuza said.