“It qualifies as a real ethical dilemma. It’s not a case of two wrongs or two rights. Where the process is flawed and where the outcome or process is unjust, I don’t think one can claim it not to be ethical,” the Ethics Monitor’s managing director Cynthia Schoeman told CNBC Africa.
“There is huge evidence to show that it has not been a fair and transparent process and, arguably, if we live in a democracy, what happened to the will of the people? I think that got lost in the pursuit of something else.”
Elsewhere, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Hawks were reportedly investigating MTN, Vodacom and Cell C over spying claims.
It is alleged that the three cell phone operators provided a local tobacco manufacturer with cell phone records that were supposedly used to spy on SARS investigators.
“It seems absurd that the three big cell phone companies would supply that sort of information and, clearly, they’re all denying it at this stage. What there does appear to be is a very valid charge in terms of trying to interfere with the activities of the SARS investigators,” Schoeman said.
“The legislation around handing this over is very clear and obviously does not permit this sort of thing. One would hope that it is perhaps just rogue individuals.”
Schoeman added that there is also a moral issue around the release of the Nkandla report and the implications of its findings.
“One can get into the technicalities of should that report have been released or shouldn’t it but, for me, the biggest ethical issue there is that we’ve got the ‘number one’ citizen of the country having ‘creeping costs’ around swimming pools as a security feature,” she said.
“While granted, it is a provisional report that is out there at the moment, and it could change, there appears to be a huge amount of evidence that is showing that the spending was personal and, yet, was funded by taxpayer’s money, and that is unethical. When we have unethical behaviour so blatantly exercised by our ‘number one’ citizen, I’m afraid it sends a really shocking message.”