South Africa

OP-ED

‘We are rebuilding key institutions to ensure accountability from those implicated in State Capture’

‘We are rebuilding key institutions to ensure accountability from those implicated in State Capture’
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

The Special Tribunal and Investigating Directorate are making significant inroads in tackling corruption that has systematically weakened the state, damaged key institutions and eroded the country’s social fabric.

This week will mark five years since we embarked on a new journey in the fight against corruption. In delivering the State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018, I said: “We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.” 

I said that if we are to turn the tide on corruption, we must strengthen law enforcement institutions and shield them from external interference or manipulation. Since then, we have made substantial progress in strengthening the state’s ability to deal with corruption. 

The first significant step in this effort was the establishment of a Special Tribunal to enable the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to expedite civil claims against corrupt individuals and to recover stolen funds. The tribunal is a court dedicated to proceedings arising from SIU investigations. This strategy of combining investigations with civil litigation has enabled the SIU and the tribunal to recover stolen money. 

As of March 2022, the value of civil litigation referred to the high courts and the Special Tribunal amounted to R75-billion. This is roughly equivalent to what was budgeted for the child support grant this year. Currently, about 119 cases worth more than R12-billion are enrolled at the Special Tribunal. 

State Capture cases

The second game-changer was the establishment in 2019 of the Investigating Directorate (ID) in the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute serious organised crime and corruption cases. 

Since its establishment, the ID has been preparing several cases of serious corruption, including those emanating from the State Capture Commission, for trial. This forms part of the NPA’s priority plan to deal with State Capture and high-level corruption. 

Last year saw the arrest of several individuals allegedly implicated in “State Capture” cases. A total of 187 accused persons have been taken to court in 32 State Capture and corruption cases, and about R12.9-billion in funds and assets have been frozen. 

As we announced in the State of the Nation Address last week, we are about to take yet another important step forward by making the ID a permanent entity within the NPA. This is so that it can deepen its collaboration with other entities in the criminal justice system and enrol more cases in the courts. 

Consultations are under way on the legislation to give effect to this and to prescribe its powers and safeguard its independence. This also has implications for its funding and operational capacity. 

Currently, the ID’s investigators are seconded from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks. Once it’s made permanent, the ID will be able to improve the capacity of its existing team of specialist investigators and prosecutors and recruit new ones. 


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We expect that 2023 will be a year of increased activity for the ID as it builds on the sterling work it has done so far. 

It has been leading an innovative approach to ensuring accountability from those implicated in State Capture. As part of its ongoing criminal investigation into complex corruption at Eskom, the ID has finalised a comprehensive settlement agreement with an international company, ABB, to pay more than R2.5-billion in punitive reparations to South Africa. The payment will be made into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account. This is reflective of the NPA’s two-pronged strategy to deal with corruption through prosecuting perpetrators and recovering stolen money. 

Read in Daily Maverick:Four key takeaways from Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address

Over many years corruption has systematically weakened the state, damaged key institutions and eroded the country’s social fabric. The Constitutional Court has said that corruption is “the antithesis of the open, accountable, democratic government required by the Constitution”. 

Working together with other multidisciplinary units such as the Anti-Corruption Task Team and the Fusion Centre, we will strengthen the ID in its work on the front line in the fight against corruption and State Capture. 

We set up world-class institutions before. Now is the time to rebuild our institutions so that they are able to stand the test of time and advance the values and vision of our constitutional democracy. DM

This is the President’s weekly letter to the nation, released on Monday.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    And yet you still cannot bring yourself to admit that the issues we are seeing at this stage are now primarily due to the ANC, including the care deployment policy that you are fighting to keep. The majority of bigger fish implicated in the report have uet to see any consequences. And let’s just remember that 12.9 billion rand recovered out more than 1000 billion lost is really really weak and nothing to be proud of, barely over 1%. Turkeys don’t vote for xmas, and corrupt cadres don’t vote for anything that can slow access to taxpayers money.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Mr President, you are living in a dreamland. You CANNOT remedy a situation with the same people that caused them in the first place. SA is close to a mafia state and you made no reference in your SONA. Education is in shambles, the minister of police is incapable of doing his job. Just look at the murder rate in KZN.

  • Dou Pienaar says:

    Bla bla bla, we are not fooled by you Cyril. You are still turning up the heat with the pot and the boiling frog inside (Your own analogy (fable) of how you will deal with the people of South Africa. Frankly you must think South Africans are stupid.

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