Markus Jooste? No Justice. Cyril Ramaphosa? No Accountability. “Super Pact”? No Thanks. – Themba Godi

Former Scopa (Standing Committee on Public Accounts) chairperson and African People’s Convention leader Themba Godi has lamented the lack of justice in the case of disgraced former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste and the lack of accountability for President Cyril Ramaphosa. These are some of the talking points in this interview with BizNews after his party decided to walk away from a “Super Pact” of minority parties after at least two months of talks. Meanwhile, Godi says he has “almost given up on the possibility of the police and the NPA taking any decisive action” in Jooste’s case. And he feels that the media seems to have “no interest” in holding Ramaphosa accountable – thus giving Parliament the impetus to also do its work. Godi recalls his testimony before the Zondo Commission and warns: “For as long as there is no political will to push for accountability, Parliament will not be effective.” – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:21 – Super pacts between minority parties
  • 03:10 – How is the APC currently doing?
  • 05:26 – Markus Jooste’s 2018 testimony in front of Scopa
  • 07:42 – Oversight quality at Scopa
  • 09:48 – Zondo commission testimony
  • 11:39 – Predictions for the 2024 election
  • 14:23 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

Former Scopa (Standing Committee on Public Accounts) chairperson and African People’s Convention leader Themba Godi has lamented the lack of justice in the case of disgraced former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste, as well as the lack accountability for President Cyril Ramaphosa.

These are some of the talking points in this interview with BizNews after his party decided to walk away from a “Super Pact” of minority parties after at least two months of talks.

Godi, who was the chairperson when Jooste testified before Scopa in 2018, says:  “We in the APC actually marched to the NPA to demand that they need to show movement on this case, particularly because it is the biggest corruption scandal in the history of our country. And it had the possibility to undermine both private and public sector morality. And it was important to act in a way that was going to be exemplary. But nothing has happened.

“We see now that the Germans have actually charged Jooste, and had asked for his extradition. We’re not sure where that is at this point, but from the South African point of view, I can tell you that I’ve almost given up on the possibility of the police and the NPA taking any decisive action…”

As for the current quality of Scopa’s work, Godi says “oversight under President Cyril Ramaphosa has sort of gone down a bit”.

He adds: “It looks like the media has no interest in holding the President accountable or creating that atmosphere that would give cover or impetus to Parliament to also do its work…I mean, take into account that leaked audio where the President said he knew ANC (African National Congress) members were stealing public money for ANC activities. Scopa could not budge on that even after the intelligence services had initially said they are ready to provide documents to Scopa and the chairperson said no wait, just hang on a bit, and then it just you know died away.”

Recalling his testimony before the Zondo Commission, Godi says: “…the crux of my testimony was that oversight is a political function. It’s not an administrative function. For as long as there is no political will to push for accountability, Parliament will not be effective. And I gave instances of the work that we’ve done, provided resolutions that we have taken in terms of what needs to be done…I also lamented the fact that when we take resolutions, these resolutions now reside in the office of the Speaker, and that office did not have a tracking mechanism to follow up on all those resolutions.

“I don’t think anything has happened to those recommendations. Next year I’ll be joining Parliament. It will still be the same.”

Giving BizNews the back story behind the APC’s decision not to join the “Super Pact”, Godi confirms political leaders of different parties had met and looked at the various scenarios, including the possibility of them setting up a new organisation through which they would all contest next year’s general election.

“Now unfortunately, before the beginning of this week’s meeting, there was a media release quoting some unknown sources claiming that an agreement has already been reached and that the APC is part of that agreement to contest under one roof about which we were very unhappy as the APC because it was a continuation of a conduct that we saw in the last meeting where it appeared that some parties had caucused before, and in a very naive way thought they could just bulldoze us into accepting a particular scenario…and we therefore wrote them a note to say well we’re not coming into your next meeting and will not be part of any discussions going forward…”

With an eye on next year’s election, Godi says: “…we are not blind to the fact that the national consensus around the ANC has crumbled. And with that happening, it creates a lot of uncertainty in terms of the direction of the country. Thus, they talk about coalition government, which is a distinct possibility, in fact, probability…

“And so we as the APC understand that being in the political arena implies that if we have such a scenario, we will be there to contribute and to participate, but on the basis of a developmental agenda that is buttressed by good governance and service delivery. That is our minimum requirement, without which we don’t think we’ll be able to work with any political party.”

Godi is “cautiously optimistic” about the APC’s own prospects. “We are making steady, irreversible progress. And I believe that by the time elections come, they will find us ready.”

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