PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA has vowed to get even tougher on corruption and to recover assets that have been illegally acquired.
An investigative directorate – tasked specifically with probing corruption and associated offences – is on the cards for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
President Cyril Ramaphosa made this announcement during his second State of the Nation Address.
The President noted that efforts to end poverty, unemployment and inequality will achieve little unless government tackles state capture and corruption in all its forms and in all areas of public life.
“The action we take now to end corruption and hold those responsible to account will determine the pace and trajectory of the radical social and economic transformation we seek,” he said.
The President explained that the idea of the directorate was borne from the issues emerging from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and other commissions.
He described the submissions made at the commissions as “deeply disturbing”, adding that they “reveal a breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing that challenges the very foundation of our democratic state”.
Taking a firm stance, President Ramaphosa said beyond the commissions, evidence of criminal activity must be tried in the courts.
“While these commissions will in time make findings and recommendations in line with their mandates, evidence of criminal activity that emerges must be evaluated by the criminal justice system.
“Where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently,” he said.
The President also commended the commissions for the work they are doing, often under challenging circumstances, to uncover the truth.
President Ramaphosa said he and new National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi, who took over the reins at the NPA on 1 February, have agreed that there is an urgent need to establish the directorate, in accordance with Section 7 of the NPA Act.
“I will soon be promulgating a proclamation that will set out the specific terms of reference of the directorate,” said the President.
In broad terms, the directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo Commission, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries.
“It will identify priority cases to investigate and prosecute and will recover assets identified to be the proceeds of corruption,” he added.