Tuesday, June 6, 2017





Stes de Necker

No South African politician or minister walks around with a government cheque book in his/her pocket.

So how is it possible that there can be so much corruption in state funding when all financial transactions of the government must go through the Treasury and the South African Department of Finance?

In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (Act 1 of 1999) Heads of Department, as Accounting Officers of their Departments, are responsible and accountable for moneys spent and received in their different departments.

So how do government funds flow so easily around outside state departments?

The answer is rather simple:

Because all Heads of State Departments are pawns in the hands of the politicians who has free reigns over the appointments and discharge of Administrative Heads.

Wherever and whenever a Head of Department doesn’t do what the Political Head of that Department tells him to do, he runs the very real risk of being dismissed from his post and loose his livelihood as a public servant.

My dear friends, I was Head of the Free State Department of Agriculture, so I know what I’m talking about.

On numerous occasions I was expected to approve some or other financial expenditure for the Department as Accounting Officer which was in contravention of the Law and in every such case I refused to give approval or support to such expenditure.

This type of conduct was simply unacceptable to the Free State ANC Government and inevitably lead to my retirement from the public service in 1996.

During my term of office I have on many different occasions warn against the paralysing effects of Political Office bearers becoming administrators and public service administrators playing politics.
Politicians are simply not trained to be administrators and administrators are not trained to be politicians. The rules separating these two functions are very clear and simple.

Politicians are expected to make policy, and administrators are expected to execute and implement that policy.

Any professional public servant worth his salt knows that he/she is serving the government of the day regardless his/her political convictions. Public servants execute their political convictions at the ballot box; not in their offices!

The biggest crime in South Africa today is that public service administrators are not being held accountable as they should be because of their direct personal and nepotistic relationships with the ANC politicians.

Not only do these practices undermine the competence of public institutions, but it conceals transparency and corruption in the public service.

The current Gupta debacle is certainly the most fitting example of the consequences of this abhorrent practice in South African governance.

How was it possible that a single Indian family could almost achieve the complete capture of the South African Government?

Simply because the people heading the administrative institutions involved in this atrocity, who were supposed to have overseen these atrocities, are all in the hands of the political puppeteers.

 The scourge of political intervention and interference in the lawful administration of this country has for decades been used serve private or party political interests. Definitely not the people of South Africa!

There can be no economic growth or political reform in South Africa without radical political and administrative reform.

We cannot expect any changes by merely changing the management of state institutions with managers who are selected on the basis of political criteria. This will not change the way in which these institutions are operating. The Government is merely changing the people who are running these institutions.  

A radical change is to alter the way an institution operates; the practices that guide the activities in such institutions. The people in key positions in the public administration should be appointed regardless of the myopic political party in power.

The only way to achieve this objective is to reduce, or where it is possible, completely eliminating the party influence in the activities of the public administration, increasing the continuity in the institutions, strengthening institutional responsibility and accountability and introducing a business methodology in the activities of public services.

In practice this means, if South Africa really wants to have an effective public service, it should immediately distinguish the appointments in the public administration from the party affiliation of the applicants.

The CEO’s and the managerial administrative staff in ministries and municipal services must come from the Public Administration System rather than appointment relatives and friends from the inner circle of political heads.  

The Department of Public Service and Administration, after consultation with the relative political head, should become the sole authority to appoint public service workers.  

This will ensure greater transparency in government activities and the public administration will be able to monitor the consistency in the implementation of the commitments made by the state.

Capable and well prepared staff for the public administration can be trained and skilled by the Public Service Training Institute.

Appointments in key positions should be made on the principle of business solutions that are based on international best practices and strict accountability for their activities.

Public administration should work on the bases of the model of a "business plan”; statement of activities performed and analysis of results.

A radical administrative reform is not only imperative for the socio economic development of South Africa, but for the effective and proper management of law and order as well.

The implementation of this kind of reform will however require managers who will serve the institutions of the executive, legislative and judicial power and enjoy public confidence. It will be the result of explicit commitments to specific individuals and institutions that will be close to the citizens.

Transparency must be the first principle on the basis of which public institutions must be managed and proper rules against arbitrary acts are the second thing that we must be establish in the public administration.

Staff appointments is one of the most mismanaged activities of the current public administration.

Saturday, June 3, 2017



Stes de Necker

Gandhi believed in truth force. He was guided by what could be called ‘relative’ truth since ‘absolute’ truth could not be attained by any human being. The quest for truthful reflection and action was central to his philosophy, unlike the ostrich-syndrome that we are witnessing today, where we bury our head in the sand to avoid seeing the truth.

Nowhere is the ostrich-syndrome more evident in every sphere of government and parastatal organisation than in South Africa where politics it is all about power and corruption.  Instead of focusing attentively on the problems before them, most politicians are ready to rather embrace wealth and distraction.

The ostrich-syndrome leads to an unmotivated directionless society which cannot take responsibility for what is happening around them and who are incapable of becoming responsible engaged citizens. 
This is happening to large numbers of the lower and middle classes who seem largely unconnected with the major problems that their societies are facing.

Of course there is the well meaning minority of political leaders who feel that we have gone too far down the road to perdition, to reverse the trend of corruption and social chaos and then there are others who believe they have to oppose the present form of anarchy by creating an awareness of the issues, even if they have not come up with a sufficient range of workable alternatives.

Yet, it is the latter that matter, for as the crisis deepens the alternatives they are grappling with will come under sympathetic scrutiny and serve as the cornerstones for new directions in our social, political and economic life.

But let us dwell a little more on the ostrich-syndrome and the culture of indifference that it spawns.

Mutation of Human consciousness

In India, for example, most of the middle classes do not even go and vote anymore.

Indifference has deformed human consciousness; some might even argue that a mutation has already taken place. If this is the case the ostrich is not even capable of knowing that it has buried its head in the sand, and that it has a distorted view of reality.

Governance is no longer about fulfilling human needs, but an attempt by unscrupulous individuals to satisfy their personal needs. Individual material satisfaction overtakes social responsibility and political action.

Everything may be going wrong from a social and political perspective, while the majority of South African voters remain cocooned in their own world of indifference.

For the middle and upper classes particularly, getting as rich as possible as soon as possible have become the main objective. This might sound like a cliché, but its underlying truth is being secured day by day.

Not only did incompetence and incapability created the current state of economic chaos and moral decline, it also produced the corrupt and incompetent political leaders we have today.   
Truth and honesty is no longer a requirement for holding a political office. Politicians are free to say what they want, when they want, while the average peace loving South African is not prepared, or they too afraid, to do or say anything which may threaten the ostrich syndrome within which everyone is so comfortable.

One of the results of this lame duck syndrome is the emergence of radical political organisations like the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) who believe they can say and do what they want.

The experience of Community as an anti-dote

Experiencing a sense of community involvement and political responsibility is integral to help the South African Government to break out of this ostrich-syndrome.

It is only through deepening our sense of responsibility and respect for basic human rights that we can open the springs of compassion.

The horizontal dimension of spiritual fulfilment through our inter-relationship with each other is the only way forward. Indigenous societies refer to the inter-connectedness of all things. ‘All the world is one human family’, is an ancient Indian expression that emphasizes the unity of humankind.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke of this inter-connectedness when he said, “I am a part and parcel of the whole, and I cannot find Him apart from the rest of humanity. My countrymen are my nearest neighbours. They have become so helpless, so resourceless, so inert, that I must concentrate on serving them.”

As long as the ostrich-syndrome persists the malling of South Africa will continue with its dreadful social and economic consequences. 

South Africa needs to develop a consciousness and vision that is different from what the ANC government is currently offering the voters.  

Our future can only be meaningfully discovered through an open and honest relationship with each and every one living in South Africa. 

Friday, June 2, 2017





Stes de Necker

Burden of proof is a legal construct which states that one must provide enough relevant evidence supporting their claim or argument in order for a judge or jury to rule in their favour. While most are familiar with the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases, civil lawsuits use a different standard called “preponderance of the evidence.”

Criminal cases and civil cases (e.g. personal injury lawsuits) vary greatly in many respects. That said, evidence is always the key factor in deciding a case.

The burden of proof in any case lies with the plaintiff (person or entity bringing the claim) as opposed to the defendant.

While prosecutors in criminal trials must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, plaintiffs in civil trials must only prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In a criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The plaintiff in a criminal case (also known as the prosecutor, state or government) must produce evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant (accused) committed the crime for which they are being charged.
Essentially, this means that the case must be proven to an extent that no “reasonable person” could “reasonably doubt” the defendant’s guilt.

While there can still be doubt in the mind of a juror, this doubt “must not affect a reasonable person’s belief regarding whether or not the defendant is guilty.”

The reason for this high burden of proof can be partially explained by Blackstone’s formulation, which states that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”
The consequences of a wrongful conviction are extremely serious, and for that reason, the courts must err on the side of innocence.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Civil cases, on the other hand, are not as difficult to prove in court. Instead of proving your case beyond any reasonable doubt, the plaintiff must only show that their proposition is more likely to be true than not true. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof (AKA balance of probabilities) is essentially met if there is greater than 50% chance that the plaintiff’s claims are true.

The burden of proof in South Africa – a Constitutional perspective

The wording of the Constitution is rather specific in Section 35(3)(h) that states:
“Every accused person has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right…. (h) to be presumed innocent, to remain silent, and not to testify during the proceedings.”

The presumption of innocence is the foundation of our legal system. The very same legal system protected in the much revered 1994 Constitution.

However, the Constitution places NO obligation on ordinary citizens to presume somebody is innocent until he or she has been proven guilty of a crime before a court of law.

The Constitution guarantees for every accused person the right to a fair trial which includes the right to be presumed innocent by the presiding officer until such time as the state has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

No one therefore has the constitutional right to be presumed innocent by the public until proven guilty.

Moreover, section 35(3)(h) guarantees the right to be presumed innocent by the magistrate or judge who presides in the accused criminal’s trial only for an accused person.

People who have not been brought before a court do not enjoy this right!

So whenever evidence emerges that a public figure (more likely a politician) may have done something wrong, it is almost certain that the alleged wrongdoer and his or her defenders will say that the person must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

It seems however that this percepetion only applies in the case of black politicians and office bearers and not to white people.

As the person would not have been convicted of a crime, so the argument goes, the public has a constitutional duty to presume he or she is innocent of wrongdoing.

If credible evidence suggests that, on a balance of probabilities, the person is guilty of wrong-doing, then as members of the public we have every right to assume that the person did something wrong and to say so.

Despite what politicians sometimes believe (or say they believe) there is currently no legal rule that prohibits members of the public from talking about, commenting on, or even speculating about, ongoing court cases.

However, this does not mean that anyone is legally or ethically entitled to say anything about anyone regardless of whether there is any credible evidence to support the claim or not.

So when politicians or the media reports that a person has been involved in some sort of wrongdoing (capturing the state or being captured; taking part in corrupt activities; flouting rules or the Constitution; acting unethically, stealing land), or when ordinary citizens draw conclusions from such reporting and take to social media to condemn the accused person/s, the affected person is always entitled to sue the media publication or private citizen for defamation.

Politicians, journalists and members of the public should therefore take care – both because of the threat of being slapped with a defamation suit and because it is ethically the right thing to do – not to make unwarranted assumptions about people and not to say something defamatory about that person if there is not a good chance that the statement is true.

Lately we often hear: “Whites have stolen our land!”

Why then has nobody gone to a police station and opened a criminal case of theft against any white man who allegedly stole his land? If the legal system is so transparent and so fair and the constitution so sacred, the matter of land ownership becomes very easy to settle.

Why hasn’t any black South African or liberal supporter gone to a police station with evidence of the crime of theft and pressed charges for the stealing of their land and let the Police go and catch the alleged thief and send him to prison!

The reason is very simple: Because there exists no proof of any such theft!


On the contrary, the right thing to do would be for the whites of South Africa and organisations like ‘Afri Forum’ or 'Solidarity' to vigorously pursue and seek legal redress against anyone or any group who makes such unfounded malicious allegations.