News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday April 21st 2019

‘Government is dysfunctional’ say investigative journalists


The South African government is in “shambles”.  This was the view of Sunday Times investigative journalists Mzilikazi Wa Afrika and City Press assistant editor Adriaan Basson who said corrupt politicians were the cause of the government’s failure to address issue of inequality and poverty facing communities.

Speaking to about 150 people in Khayelitsha’s Look Out Hill on Tuesday night at a seminar organised by non-profit trust Ndifuna Ukwazi (dare to Know) and the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), the two senior journalists outlined how the ANC-led government refused to acknowledge the root causes of the problems confronting the country.

Wa Afrika and Basson discussed the effects that money and politics has on the state affairs of the country and political landscape.

Specifically, the pair examined the role that corruption has played and the effects of poor governance on South Africa’s democracy.

“South Africa is dysfunctional,” said Basson, pointing out that no less than five government departments were functioning only with acting heads.

Basson described corruption as a fundamental threat to South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

According to Basson, the major challenge was the department of Police, Director of Public Prosecutions, National Intelligence Agency and the Secret Service, which he said were all headed by acting individuals.

Basson said it was well known that corruption had resulted in the axing of former Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi and Bheki Cele.

Cele is still suspended pending an investigation into corruption and the administration of the state was “in shambles”.

Basson questioned the appointing of controversial Richard Mdluli as an intelligence officer while there were uncleared criminal charges against him.

“There is a war within the police but it is not clear who is siding with whom.  The criminal justice system is in shambles and it is up to the civil society to take a stand,” said Basson.

Wa Africa told the crowd, referring to Selebi and Cele, that the dishonesty in public administrators and allegations of cabinet members’ involvement in shady practices has been reported by the media and proved by government.

“In a country like ours where politicians are rated to earn more money, what makes them steal from the poor?” asked Wa Afrika.

He said “some (politicians) say they did not join the struggle to be poor” thus stealing from the public funds.

He said citizens like him, writing stories about the dysfunctional government, are living a risky life, before telling the crowd how he got arrested after he published a story that led to Cele being suspended.  “We write these stories because it has to be told and someone has to tell it as it is”.

One of the people that attended, Mzo Gaba, said he enjoyed the seminar and his answers whether the government was corrupt or clean were answered.

“It is evident from the media reports that this government is corrupt.  People are employed because they are family and friends to those in power.  The government denies it is corrupt or practices maladministration because they are covering dirt for one another,” he said. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: (dare to Know), Adriaan Basson, Bheki Cele, City Press, director of public prosecutions, Jackie Selebi, Khayelitsha’s Look Out Hill, Mzilikazi Wa Afrika, Mzo Gaba, National Intelligence Agency, Ndifuna Ukwazi, Police, Richard Mdluli, Secret Service, Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Sunday Times

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