Church leaders highlight ‘inappropriate control of State systems through a power elite’

The South African Council of Churches says the present government has lost moral legitimacy amid widespread chaos‚ which it has described as more than “petty corruption”. However‚ it is undecided on whether President Jacob Zuma could be labelled as a corrupt leader.

“The matter on whether President Jacob Zuma is corrupt or not… Well‚ the jury is out‚” said Bishop Malusi Mpmulwana.

He was speaking at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto where the SACC revealed findings of the “Unburdening Panel”‚ established in April 2016 to unearth the extent of State Capture.

Pravin Gordhan at the SA Church Council press conference. Picture: Tiso Black Star Group DIGITAL

Amongst those present at the proceedings was former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan‚ who lost his position following a Cabinet reshuffle in March.

Mpumlwana addressed the numerous Cabinet reshuffles that President Zuma has conducted over the years‚ as well as board changes in some state-owned companies.

Mpumlwana said it seemed as though it was all part of a systematic design which was put in place to carry out deals that benefited certain companies and individuals.

He claimed the only time there was a good change was when the country transitioned power from the National Party to the African National Congress.

Scores of people had come forward to spill the beans on the shenanigans in government. Some did so with the intention of simply unburdening themselves‚ while others did so with the hope that action would be taken.

Mpumlwana said as numerous people came forward to reveal their involvement or their knowledge of the country’s so-called state capture‚ they found that some names came up over and over again‚ including that of the notorious Gupta family.

“There indeed are serial offenders‚” said Mpumulwana.

The report read: “There were cases of people at municipal and provincial level‚ who were pressurised to divert funds inappropriately to certain activities that had nothing to do with the work and purpose of the budget.

“There were people who were prevailed upon to rig tender process in favour of certain companies and individuals‚ or bend and tailor regulations for a specific desired outcome.”

Analysis of the information presented showed trends of “inappropriate control of State systems through a power-elite that is pivoted around the President of the Republic that is systematically siphoning the assets of the State”.

The “Unburdening Panel” report was handed to the ANC but it remains to be seen whether any action would stem from the existence of the clergy’s report.

Mpumlwana highlighted that it was all part of a pastoral process and not a formal investigation.

The information was for the church to use for advocacy and would not necessarily lead to any prosecutions.

“We are not charging anyone. We are not focused on any specific organisation. This is about the environment we live in. We want to check what is in the environment which allows for corruption [to breed]‚” he said.

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