President Cyril Ramaphosa must dispense with the politics of expediency and show a firm hand in dealing with those implicated in corruption and state capture, the Southern African Catholics Bishops Conference says.
Commenting after the release of the national and provincial election results at the weekend, the bishops said they expected the president to ensure that those accused of corruption and state capture were not appointed to the cabinet and parliament.
They also expected Ramaphosa to ensure that the country’s bloated cabinet was reduced by half.
They also wanted him to introduce new measures to strengthen the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the criminal justice system and its ability to operate without political interference and prosecute those involved in corruption and state capture.
The bishops said one of the key messages that the citizens of South Africa had delivered through the 2019 elections was that the current social contract, which was based on the constitutional negotiations in the early 1990s, needed both renewal and repair.
“The citizens should not be taken for granted.”
They said the dwindling in the voter turnout as well as the incidents of protests during the election were a stern warning to all the political parties that there was a need to renegotiate the social contract between the ruling elite and those living on the margins of the economy.
“In the next five years, the mending of the social contract will therefore depend on the extent to which the ruling party, working with the oversight functions of the sixth parliament, have managed to rebuild the economy while tackling the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The bishops said they expected all the political parties in the sixth parliament, and not just the ruling party, to put the country first and work collectively to develop effective measures to arrest the collapse of the economy and the looting of state resources, and to spur economic growth so that it created jobs.