Editorials 3.9.2018 08:33 am

No accountability from ministers fuels public fury

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) marched to the Gauteng Legislature to demand the removal of former Health MECs and current members of the Provincial Legislature, Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa. Mahlangu is implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy and Hlongwa stands accused of facilitating corruption in the Health department during his tenure, 7 August 2018.  Picture: Neil McCartney

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) marched to the Gauteng Legislature to demand the removal of former Health MECs and current members of the Provincial Legislature, Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa. Mahlangu is implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy and Hlongwa stands accused of facilitating corruption in the Health department during his tenure, 7 August 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

If only South African ministers could take a leaf out of Bulgaria’s book.

There’s a growing feeling from the public that ministers in South Africa will never be held accountable for their actions … that they are above the law.

Despite a number of far-reaching revelations from, initially, #GuptaLeaks and now the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, that go all the way to the top, no one has been brought to book.

It’s early days at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, but the looting of state resources has gone on for years, so the frustration of the public is understandable.

Outrageous levels of corruption or ineptitude have been laid bare, yet still no action has been taken against individuals. Add to this rife corruption at state-owned enterprises and the lack of accountability of anyone for their role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, in which more than 140 patients died, and you understand everyone’s anger.

In fact, Qedani Mahlangu, the disgraced former health MEC who oversaw the relocation project of psychiatric patients, was elected to the Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee. You can’t make this up.

So, with this in mind, it is refreshing to see that some countries do not mess around with accountability when it comes to their ministers.

On Friday, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov sacked three ministers over a bus accident in which 17 people died, saying politicians needed to take responsibility for a crash that triggered a public outcry over the poor state of the roads.

Borissov demanded the resignations of Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, Regional Development Minister Nikolay Nankov and Interior Minister Valentin Radev.

What’s even more refreshing is that the ministers immediately took responsibility.

“We accept all political responsibility and therefore we resign,” Radev said.

Now, if only South African ministers could take a leaf out of Bulgaria’s book.

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