A common response has emerged to the depressing evidence of burgeoning corruption in South Africa: never again.
New President Cyril Ramaphosa has been delphic in his response to the multitude of pointed fingers – not least because some of them are pointed at him.
It would certainly be dangerously naive to blame it all on former President Jacob Zuma.
No single person can lay waste to an economy. There have to be accomplices.
When and how they pay for pain and suffering they have caused is a matter for the cvourts.
The muscular and independent judiciary has been the salvation of the Rainbow Nation. So whatever cynicism has grown in the nursery of our misery, we have to accept that the judges will continue to do an exemplary job in bringing the crooked politicians and officials to book.
It is for ourselves and our elected representatives to ensure the corruption never happens again.
Constant vigilance is essential.
And we’ll need some measurement of success.
Let me suggest the 25-year-old Berlin-based Transparency International.
TI’s annual Corruption Perception Index was published this week.
Once again it has depressing news for Sub Sahara Africa which once again takes up the bottom of the table.
Critics of the index say it is superficial because it relies on perception rather than hard fact.
Do you imagine TI or any other watchdog would not use hard facts if these were available?
Cover up is the lifeblood of corruption. This is why government crackdowns on media and non governmental organisations trying to establish the truth invariably points to widespread corruption.
TI is also criticized for reducing the incidence to a single mark out of 100.
Surely anyone with even the most basic education understands percentage grades.
Would you prefer the obfuscation of what Winston Churchill called lies, damn lies and statistics?
This year, South Africa gets 43 on the index.
Its exactly the same as the global average, which TI says represents little or no progress worldwide in fighting corruption.
The cleanest country is New Zealand with 89 points which scores and the most crooked is Somalia with only 9.
Don’t bother arguing over whether 43 is a passing mark.
We have a mark on the doorframe that we can compare next year.
Will it show we are winning the fight?