SOUTH AFRICA: Bishops Call for Improved Anti-Corruption System

CAPE TOWN, OCTOBER 17, 2017(CISA) – The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has called for the formation of an anti- corruption court to fast track hearing of corrupt cases in the country.

This reaction came amid the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa ruling that upheld the High Court decision to reinstate 783 accounts of corruption against President Jacob Zuma, reported Catholic News Agency.

“We urge constitutional experts and the Law Reform Commission to guide the Nation on the feasibility of establishing an anti-corruption court,” they said.

Led by the Chairman of the Conference’s Justice and Peace Commission Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberly, the bishops decried the long-standing corruption case against the President.

The prelates further expressed concern that an extended case would affect the public’s confidence in the presidential office and “its ability to fight corruption at all levels of government.”

“When allegations of corruption hang over the head of a sitting president for this long‚ something gives way. In our case‚ the moral fibre of our nation has suffered massive damage as a result of people losing confidence in the office of the president,” Bishop Gabuza said.

President Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority had filed an appeal against the High Court ruling that seek to terminate the corruption case against the president. The National Prosecutor Mokotedi Mphse had dropped the charges arguing that the timing of the case in 2007 was to stop Zuma from contesting for presidency.

The President is accused of having a hand in an arms deal of worth 2 billion dollars. This deal led to the prosecution of his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik on corruption and fraud charges in 2005.

The court battles on the spygate and the corresponding corruption allegations against the President have been ongoing for more than eight years. If the National Prosecuting Authority decides to reinstate corruption charges against him, the matter is likely to take another four years.

The Bishops criticised the President for dragging the country in the war against corruption and further challenged future presidential candidates to push for a specialised anti-corruption system.