AfriForum responded to the Public Protector’s findings re General Siphiwe Nyanda’s involvement in companies that profited millions from Transnet contracts by stating that these findings do not exempt Nyanda from moral accountability for unethical conduct. The fact that the Public Protector could find no proof that Nyanda had influenced the award processes irregularly, does not change the fact that in itself it is unethical for a public official and his relatives to be involved in companies that benefit from tenders.
According to Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, the Public Protector’s finding that Nyanda had abused his position and had supported the former CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, Siyabonga Gama, improperly when the latter had been subject to a disciplinary hearing, is sufficient cause for argument that Nyanda is not fit for public office. This action of Nyanda is a contravention of Section 2.3(d) of the Executive Code of Ethics.
Bailey emphasised that the dearth of accountability of public officials in South Africa can be ascribed to the fact that technical points are used all too often to acquit officials, while the actions of such people obviously are unethical. “Even though Government therefore might not hold Nyanda legally accountable, he should be held accountable on moral grounds,” Bailey added.
According to Bailey, it is essential that the awarding of tenders to companies in which public officials and their relatives are involved, should be prohibited. “As long as such tenders are justified, it will be impossible to combat corruption effectively,” Bailey said.