The Full Zondo has landed – now comes the really hard part

As our country’s political elites start to scour through the recommendations of the Zondo Commission’s final report, and try to work out how it will affect them, it is an important moment to ask if its recommendations will be accepted and implemented at all.
It is almost certain that in the short term there will be much contestation, legal and otherwise, around the findings. (It is important to remember here that the legal challenges to Zondo’s findings will not stop the incoming NPA investigations – they are separate processes – Ed) But in the longer term, the much more important question may be what is implemented and what is not. In short, the question becomes: Will this report really lead to a real change in our country, and in our politics?
Considering what appears to be a growing fracturing of our politics (some would call it breaking apart), it is likely that the really important parts of the report will not be implemented, that those in power, or who will ascend to power, will seek not to go to jail for what they’ve done to people and state of South Africa.
However, it is also possible that another course is followed, that public pressure, and the threat of upcoming elections force politicians to act even if that is against their own interests.
There can be no doubt of the importance of the Zondo Commission Report. It is likely to have more of an impact on our politics than any court judgments in our modern history.
In its essence, the report is really an investigation into the criminal mistakes made in our democracy in the past 30 years, an unparalleled feat of analysis. Its breadth ranges from the failure of Parliament to be a check on government, to the impact of cadre deployment, to how our SOEs are set up, to how mayors made money through their positions. It is also unprecedently deep, taking detailed public testimony on how payments were made and to whom and why, among so many other angles.
As a result, this mammoth document is likely to also be looked to as a blueprint for our future, a bible for a new South African state. And as it was the case when the Christian Bible was put together in the 5th century Alexandria, one of the most contentious issues will be which of Zondo’s recommendations will be followed and which will not.
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