Church leaders call for ‘corruption TRC’

Bishop Malusi Mpulwana.

Originally published by Sowetan Live

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has called for a process similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to deal with corruption‚ potentially granting amnesty to those fingered in the state capture report.

The organisation of church heads responded to the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Thursday in Johannesburg.

The SACC ran its Unburdening Panel earlier this year‚ calling on members of the public to come forward with their accounts of bribery and corruption in light of the state capture allegations that had surfaced.

Some of the allegations reported to the SACC in this process‚ such as Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’ claim that he was offered the post of finance minister by the Gupta family last year‚ are contained in the state capture report.

The SACC’s general secretary‚ Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana‚ said the details of the report were shocking.

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“We are profoundly shocked by the detail of what appears to be calculated intrigue in the goings on catalogued in the report. Considering that this inquiry was focused on a slice of possible activities that only relate to the Gupta family‚ we wonder what an investigation of the fuller extent of such improper relationships up and down the various levels of government might reveal.”

Madonsela found that President Jacob Zuma may have breached the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and has recommended that Zuma appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to deal with state capture.

The report also paints Eskom CEO Brian Molefe with a “corrupt brush”‚ as he told journalists on Thursday at the presentation of Eskom’s financial results for the six months ended September 30 2016. The word “Eskom” appears 829 times in the report.

Mpumlwana said there’s a perception that corruption is only “Guptarised” but that it is everywhere. To uproot this‚ the government should consider a corruption TRC‚ he said.

“We should look at the prospects for a corruption TRC‚ that will take submissions from as far back as the early 1990s‚ where it appears there was a mass destruction of documents and records relating to the appropriation of assets belonging to the state‚ both in South Africa and abroad.

“Everyone keeps saying this corruption is not new. Fine‚ let’s deal with it.”

Mpumlwana did not provide any significant detail of the findings of the Unburdening Panel‚ saying that the information the SACC could release to the public had been made known in the state capture report or through other processes.

The accounts of some of the panel’s participants will remain secret‚ however‚ as these people had asked not to be identified for fear of intimidation.

“We have been alarmed by the fear factor in the faces of the people that have wished not to be publicised – people who have lost their jobs; people who fear for their lives; but who do want to say something to unburden themselves so that they can sleep with a measure of peace.”

Listening to the stories of these people form part of the church’s pastoral ministry‚ Mpumlwana said.

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