Mar 2024 1st edition

More work still needed to eliminate corruption, says President Ramaphosa

While significant interventions aimed at eradicating state malfeasance have over the past five years borne  fruit, much more work is still needed to be done to eliminate corruption, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The President conceded this recently while delivering the last State of the Nation Address (SoNA) of the sixth administration ahead of the upcoming general elections.

Addressing a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament at the Cape Town City Hall in February, President Ramaphosa said: “One of the overriding challenges this administration had to deal with when it took office was state capture and corruption.”

He said his administration’s first priority was to put a decisive stop to state capture, dismantle criminal networks within the state and to ensure that perpetrators faced justice.

“We had to do that so that we could restore our institutions and rebuild our economy,” he said.

To achieve this, capable people with integrity were appointed to head law enforcement agencies, government departments, security services and state companies.  

In the past five years, through these interventions, the credibility and efficiency of institutions like the South African Revenue Service were restored and their performance improved.

“We set up the Investigating Directorate as a specialised and multidisciplinary unit within the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate corruption and other serious crimes,” he said.

He added that great progress has been made in bringing those responsible for state capture to justice.

To date, more than 200 accused persons are being prosecuted in this regard.

“Stolen funds are being recovered. Freezing orders of R14 billion have been granted to the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit for state capture-related cases, and around R8.6 billion in corrupt proceeds have been returned to the state.

A restored and revitalised SARS has collected R4.8 billion in unpaid taxes as a result of evidence presented at the Commission, while the Special Investigating Unit has instituted civil litigation to the value of R64 billion.

Government has over the past five years introduced steps, including through new legislation, to strengthen the state’s ability to prevent money laundering and fraud.

“With the assistance of business, we have set up a digital forensic capability to support the NPA Investigating Directorate, which in due course will be expanded to support law enforcement more broadly. Legislation is currently before Parliament to establish the Investigating Directorate as a permanent entity with full investigating powers,” said the President.

Based on the recommendations of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, the President said government is determined to introduce further measures to strengthen our anti-corruption agencies, protect whistle-blowers, regulate lobbying and prevent the undue  influence of public representatives in procurement.  

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