A bitter pill it is, but there are sound reasons for giving amnesty to alleged State Capture wrongdoers

Now, after the Zondo Commission has completed its work with the publication of its final report, the question is: Where to from here? As one answer, we consider that it is high time to readdress the amnesty controversy.
In March 2020, we proposed that South Africa consider adopting a conditional amnesty process for those who committed acts of corruption during the era of State Capture. Our full article, previously published in Daily Maverick, together with a shorter version, can be accessed here.
A corruption amnesty would help South Africa escape the bonds of State Capture
The publication of the article coincided with a Daily Maverick panel discussion at which the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) professed shock that, at a stage where arrests and effective prosecutions were imminent, we were proposing a way out for those implicated in grand-scale corruption. After the panel discussion there were some fairly harsh, but in our view misconceived, criticisms of the proposal. There was also welcome support for the notion of amnesty from some commentators, most recently, the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Ian Donovan.
The debate on an amnesty proposal then went largely silent, no doubt because of the diversion of attention and resources to the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement restrictions brought by the lockdowns we endured. Significantly, the pandemic exposed the indiscriminate grand-scale corruption embedded in our society in relation, this time around, to the public procurement of, among other things, personal protective equipment (PPE). This contributed to the long-awaited need to take decisive action against fraud and corruption and it added further billions of rands lost to corruption due to corruption and State Capture.
Now, after the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture (the Zondo Commission) has completed its four-year work with the publication of its final report, the question is: Where to from here? As one answer, we consider that it is high time to readdress the amnesty controversy.
The corruption problem, and why amnesty?
In our previous article, we highlighted that corruption had become a widespread, endemic phenomenon in South Africa, with a profoundly corrosive effect on our country’s political and economic landscape. We estimated that the economic impact of corruption perpetrated by the upper echelons of government all the way through to everyday government officials had cost the country hundreds of billions of rands.
Our views as to the pervasive extent of corruption were confirmed by the Zondo Commission’s findings on ...