A simple Oxford dictionary definition of the term ‘accountable’ defines it as being ‘expected to explain your actions or decisions.’ Every person deemed to be an adult is responsible for their own actions and decisions and they also need to account for those decisions and actions.
However, it seems like the spirit of being accountable for one’s decisions and actions is failing to find expression in the hearts of many politicians of late. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leadership are the latest political figures to throw a barrage of insults to the State Capture Commission of inquiry’s investigators.
It has since been revealed that the Commission’s investigators are looking into the financial affairs of the EFF leadership, both its president, Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu, to check whether the state monies illegally find ways into their personal accounts or not.
Shivambu was the quickest to react to this latest revelation and expectedly attacked the Commission for what he suggested was a ‘misguided political agenda’ against the party and its leadership.
While this is a different direction that the Commission is taking by probing individuals whom are and were not in government in the last decade or so, however, the scope of reference for the commission is to probe everyone who might wrongfully have benefitted from state monies.
Malema and Shivambu have been reported to have benefitted from the monies from the now-defunct bank, the Venda Mutual Bank (VBS). It is been widely reported that the duo, through companies of their close relatives and associates, may have been personally benefitted from the ill-gotten gains from the VBS looting, with Shivambu’s young brother, Brain, having been listed in the Reserve Bank investigation report as amongst the people who received millions of taxpayers money from his business with the bank.
While it is still yet to be proven whether Shivambu or Malema were direct beneficiaries of the VBS looting, the Commission’s investigators are probing to make that decision. Malema and Shivambu have long maintained that they both have not benefitted directly or indirectly benefitted from the VBS looting and they have nothing to hide.
Malema even went as far as calling journalists to probe him further about his dealings with the bank and its leaders. Now, if the duo still maintains that they have nothing to hide, then it should not be a problem if the Commission’s investigators are looking into their banking affairs to check whether their stance matches with their banking transactions’ history.
It cannot be that every time that the question of accountability is raised with the EFF’s leadership, particularly with the VBS saga, they label that as a ‘political agenda’. Framing accountability as a political attack is just a way to deflect.
Former President Jacob Zuma has tried to do that with the Commission over the past months and dismally failed. The EFF, particularly Shivambu, should also not try to do the same failed trick. As public representatives and leaders of the third-largest party in the country, Malema and Shivambu should forever be ready to account for any of their actions and decisions.
They must allow the Commission’s investigators to look into their banking affairs and if need be, present themselves before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission. That is what responsible and corrupt-free leaders are expected to do in the face of any unfounded or founded allegations.