The narrative on the perception of corruption being associated with black people will have to be eradicated in order to overcome the scourge.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said it would be difficult to defeat corruption if the public sector is perceived as the source. Mogoeng delivered the key note lecture at the 67-Minutes Leadership Talk hosted by the People Matter Foundation in Kempton Park, on the East Rand, yesterday.
Held on the eve of late statesman Nelson Mandela’s birthday, the leadership talk was to celebrate his life.
“We will never be able to defeat corruption for as long as we allow ourselves to be choreographed into believing corruption can only be in the public sector, or let me be a little crude about it – that it’s a black thing
He said South Africans needed to reflect and ensure that corruption was eradicated from society.
“Part of what we have to grapple with here and [across] Africa and the rest of the world is corruption. Every human being is capable of being corrupt and believe you me, we have not even scratched the surface of the magnitude that is obtained in the private sector.
“We have channelled ourselves into believing that corruption can only be in the public sector. Believe you me, it takes two to tango.” He said South Africans should not allow themselves to be funnelled into opinions about who is corrupt and who is not.
“If we are to uproot corruption from South Africa and around the world, we have got to accept as a reality that there are masters of corruption everywhere, even in the church of God. I mean, the shenanigans that we have seen ought to convince us that human infallibility obtains that you will find corruption anywhere.
“We will get this country right if we are determined to not be told who is clean and who is dirty. We are going to research it ourselves and where there is smoke, we will follow it up to its logical conclusion.”
He said it was wrong to perceive some individuals as untouchables at the expense of others, because an “injustice is an injustice regardless of the perpetrator”. “When you try to scratch the surface of someone even where there are indications there is something there – you will be bombarded with insults and so much negativity. A clear message is sent that you dare not touch this one.”