Trade union Solidarity said today that state capture and combating corruption should take top priority with the new public protector, Busisiwe Mkwhebane, as it did with Thuli Madonsela. This is according to Dr Eugene Brink, political analyst at the Solidarity Research Institute.
According to Brink, Mkwhebane’s initial viewpoint regarding state capture has already created concern. “Apparently, Mkwhebane’s viewpoint is that the investigation of cases that affect ordinary people will suffer if intensive focus is placed on state capture and corruption,” Brink said.
However, according to Brink, a causal relationship exists between state capture and service to the public. “The capture of the state allows a predatory elite to highjack institutions for their own gain and to divert resources from their legitimately intended purpose, and as a consequence, they do not serve the public anymore. State capture also sends out a message to lower level state officials on how to become successful, and sets a bad example,” Brink explained.
“At the time of assuming her duties, Mkwhebane did say that the state capture report would receive priority attention but state capture is more than just one report. It has to be probed on an ongoing basis,” Brink said.
Continuing, Brink said Mkwhebane must be given a chance to start her work but Solidarity would keep a close watch on her work to see what receives priority attention and whether she would stand accountable. “Madonsela set a high standard and her successor should try to improve on it. To keep her office independent would be key challenge to Mkwhebane,” Brink cautioned.