There was a moment of vindication during Cyril Ramaphosa’s Zondo Commission testimony last week.
We have always understood the importance of a free and independent media, but it was nonetheless music to media ears to hear it from Ramaphosa’s mouth.
Testifying before the State Capture commission as president of the ANC, Ramaphosa acknowledged that his party is bedevilled by factionalism and opportunism, especially when it comes to cadre deployment.
This is a nice way of saying that ANC members have been fighting like cats and dogs to get appointed to top positions at parastatals and state-owned enterprises.
This may have been what distracted the party and Parliament from the State Capture that was taking place right under their noses.
But, thanks to persistent media reports, both were eventually forced to sit up and pay attention.
Ramaphosa said the media’s constant coverage of the leaked Gupta emails is what led to Parliament acting, albeit five years after the first allegations surfaced.
So if you got tired of hearing and reading about State Capture every other day, remember that many of the skelms would’ve gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for the media.
It just goes to show that there still is a very crucial role for the media to play in safeguarding our democracy by monitoring our civil servants and politicians.
Ramaphosa also mentioned that the reason Parliament didn’t act sooner, is because the allegations weren’t backed by evidence.
I hope this was a lesson for our government.
Where there’s smoke, there’s almost always fire.
If you look into the allegations right at the beginning, then you may just find the evidence on which to act immediately.
Not five years – and heaven knows how many billions – later.