South Africa’s deputy president and new leader of the ruling ANC party Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday the country was on a new positive trajectory in rooting out corruption and dealing with state capture.
Speaking at a breakfast event prior to leading a South African delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) next week, Ramaphosa said law-enforcement agencies had already begun the battle against corruption, but the next challenge was to increase the momentum and arrest individuals implicated in wrongdoing.
“The most important thing is to address the issue of corruption and state capture. As a result, we welcome the establishment of the commission of inquiry that the president has announced,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa commended the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for taking action against companies alleged to have defrauded the state.
The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit won a high court order to seize the assets of global consultancy McKinsey and Trillian Capital, a company which was then controlled by the Gupta brothers who are friends of President Jacob Zuma, to recover R1.6 billion that they illegally earned from power utility Eskom without a contract and without doing any work.
The companies were implicated in allegations of exerting undue influence on Eskom and other state-owned entities in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report.
“We want to see action being taken against those who have done wrong things. We have started seeing the beginning processes of precisely that. The national prosecuting agency is starting to move, and we welcome that,” Ramaphosa said.
“We want them to act with urgency and increase the tempo of action that is being taken. The freezing of assets is an important component of that, but we want to see much more following on the actions that they should have taken a long time ago.”
Ramaphosa said the message that South Africa would be taking to Davos was that “we are taking action against corruption and we are deadly serious about it”.
Dealing with corruption would restore investor confidence in the country and attract back investment, he added.
Ramaphosa’s delegation to the annual WEF meeting in Switzerland will comprise officials from the government, business, labour and civil society.
– African News Agency (ANA)