South Africa

ANALYSIS

MIA — President Ramaphosa and his promise to decisively act against the ANC and state corruption

About 53 weeks ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that the government he leads would work against corruption and that State Capture would never happen again. He also claimed that those responsible for State Capture would be arrested and held accountable. However, there is little to no evidence that the promise is being kept.

Just over a year ago, in his formal response to the findings of the Zondo Commission, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a speech in which he said, “The people of South Africa are tired of corruption and want it to end.” 

He then went further, making a public promise:

“Those who are involved in corruption, or who are even thinking about engaging in criminal conduct, must know that all the instruments of the state will be used to bring them to book. There will be no place for corrupt people, for criminal networks, for perpetrators of State Capture to hide.”

Ramaphosa has described the State Capture period as “nine wasted years”.

Unfortunately, while some measures have been introduced to stop this kind of corruption from recurring, it would appear there is no political will to ensure this.

Just last week, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the former chair of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, spoke at a conference hosted by the Public Affairs Research Institute and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.

He pointed out that of the commission’s 10 recommendations dealing with public procurement, only four had found their way into the new Public Procurement Bill.

He was particularly worried about the lack of an independent agency that would investigate public procurement.

It seems inexplicable that those who drafted the new Bill did not include Zondo’s recommendations. Absent any public explanation, only the worst suspicion makes sense.

At the same conference, the head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate, Andrea Johnson, explained that the fact her unit is not yet permanent makes it difficult to hire full-time investigators.

There is another, even bigger issue.

As Corruption Watch’s Nkululeko Conco explained last week on SAfm, in 2007 the Scorpions were investigating Jacob Zuma for alleged corruption. But after he was elected as President at the ANC’s Polokwane conference, Zuma applied pressure on Parliament to shut the Scorpions down.

The question now is, how do you make it impossible for Parliament to make such a decision again?

The answer, of course, is through the courts.

In three separate judgments (known as Glenister I, Glenister II and Glenister III), the Constitutional Court allowed the Scorpions to be dissolved, but with safeguards in place around their successor, the Hawks.

Huge delays in the judicial process

Unfortunately, as history has shown, that was not enough to stop State Capture. 

And as Johnson also points out, there are huge delays in SA’s court system. The Estina Dairy case, for example, will only begin in August.

There are many other examples of this. 

Ace Magashule was first arrested back in 2020. Since then, he has had time to attempt to suspend Ramaphosa as ANC president, then get suspended and expelled from the ANC himself and, finally, start his own party.

The corruption trial of former Eskom boss Matshela Koko could take years to complete.

And the court challenge of ANC Chair Gwede Mantashe to the Zondo Commission’s findings against him has not yet been heard. That could take another two years.

In our courts, Stalingrad is a journey, not a destination.

There are no public plans to expedite these cases or to provide more courtrooms and more judges to hear them (apart from the Special Tribunal, which has made rulings that result in money being repaid to the government, but doesn’t hear criminal cases).

In the meantime, it has emerged that the Justice Department failed to provide enough funding to the Office of the State Attorney to defend the Zondo Commission’s findings.

Normally, the findings of a commission are the findings of the government (a commission of inquiry is essentially headed by a person acting as if they were the president, and the government is the custodian of its findings). This means if someone wants to challenge the findings, the government has to oppose them.

Zondo took the unprecedented step of saying in public that he had to organise private lawyers to defend some of these cases, not knowing how, or if, they would get paid.

It was only 10 days ago that it was confirmed that the money had been made available.

In short, the government, led by a President who had promised to implement the Zondo Commission findings, had failed to arrange to defend the findings in court.

There are other indications that the NPA and the Hawks are chronically underfunded. The NPA has said it may receive private donations, while the Hawks have said consistently that they are working with about half the investigators they need

Both of these institutions could have their funding cut in the budget cutbacks expected to be announced in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday.

Yet, the VIP Protection Unit budget and the many perks for ministers, including free generators and diesel, may well be unaffected.

No support for whistle-blowers

In the meantime, despite all of the stated public support for whistle-blowers, there is no reason to believe that anything which has happened in the last five years would encourage anyone to blow the whistle on corruption.

The person who paid to have Babita Deokaran murdered is still at large, and some of the companies that benefited from the corruption at Tembisa Hospital are still being awarded contracts to work there.

Martha Ngoye, who blew the whistle on the corruption at Prasa during the State Capture era, is still blocked from going back to her job — while Prasa prepares to spend R50-billion on new infrastructure.

To be clear, just as Prasa is about to spend this huge amount of money, it is trying to keep a whistle-blower out of the organisation.

Of course, Ramaphosa and his supporters may well argue that the changes they are trying to make will take time. They could also point out that the corruption of which “South Africans are tired” has deep roots, and predates the Zuma era. And they could say that this is one of the issues which has almost defined the ANC for many years.

Thus, they will argue, it will take a long time to roll back corruption. 

That may be true. But putting paid to corruption surely starts with keeping the simplest of promises. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ben Hawkins says:

    ANC canvassing for votes

  • Karl Nepgen says:

    Huge disappointment … slapgat and spineless, but happy to spend ny taxes to catch limelight with the resl performers in Paris.

    • Libby De Villiers says:

      Yes, and what an embarrassing figure he was – no stature or gravitas – just a foolish nowhere old man trying to be something he will never be.

  • Richard Fearon says:

    Stephen we both know that the ANC government will not act to bring those who have destroyed the country to justice. We also have a pretty good idea as to why this will never happen. . The country is the hands of demonically elected villains.

  • Hedley Davidson says:

    He has earned his salary by finally being decisive . Made a decision without setting up drawn up multi million commission – Declared another public holiday 😳

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      His major achievement to date. Actually more like his only one. SA needs another public holiday as much as we need another day of rolling blackouts. What an absolute tosser.

  • Hedley Davidson says:

    Finally earned his salary by being decisive. Did not need a multi million commission , we did not have to wait while every entity was consulted . He declared another public holiday 😳. Proof that he can get thing done

  • You, Sir, are a massive disappointment to all South Africans…you should be ashamed. And the gall of standing, pigeon-toed, on the RWC podium was laughable!

  • Francois Smith says:

    Ramaphosa cannot act against corruption in the ANC as he will be acting against himself since he is either complicit, (on Eskom he definitely is) or he will destroy the ANC and hence his legacy in the ANC. He cannot add two and two realising that he will be hailed more than Mandela if he does what is correct.

    • Jimbo Smith says:

      How can such a flawed and failed character such as Frogboiler have a LEGACY? That accolade applies to people who have stature and who have standout achievements. Mind you; those very characteristics don’t apply in THE ANC.

  • Colin Braude says:

    “About 53 weeks ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that the government he leads would work against corruption …”

    Actually, as far back as 1996, after only two years of Corruptheid, then-secretary-general of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, in the wake of the Sarafina II exposure, was crying crocodile tears [New York Times article] over the damage corruption did to party and country. He has been doing something about corruption ever since.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    When I look at president CR I do not see the worst.

    The WORST would have been not getting rid of Zuma. And there are a lot of WORSE waiting in the wings should CR exit.

    While SA remains in a terrible state, which voting in the DA would go a long long way to changing for the better, I do think that when skating CR one should always remain aware of the frying pan and fire scenario…

  • errolhicks says:

    The ANC elite will never allow proper legal investigations to be instigated against their members and cadres since more of them may be implicated in State Capture.

  • Wayne Holt says:

    Phala Phala and the president’s involvement and handling of it gives you the answer loud and clear about his approach to corrupt

  • Cachunk Cachunk says:

    Who would believe anything Rama -phala says.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    Stephen, I listened to our Presidents address last night. One would almost think (if you were an Alien from another Planet) that the problems he speaks of – the power, the logistics, our bankruptcy – were an inheritance. Whereas the situation we find ourselves in (& you can throw an attempted coup into that mix as well) are ‘the work’ of the very same party & actors, who we are promised are gonna fix the mess. It’s farce of Pythonesque proportion
    We need a different solution. Prosecutions ain’t gonna happen. There is neither the money nor the skills. Over & above that ‘the Perpetrators’ have bags of cash to access great Lawyers & who we know will find some loophole in the States case to get themselves off.
    In fact, the road we are pursuing right now (following due process etc) is a neat little trick to fool South Africans that the ANC are trying to clean house. Meanwhile, they know full well that the Party is infested with so many corrupt individuals it would take a 100o years & Brazillians of Dollars US to prosecute em all. That & the fact that we would need to build at least another 5 prisons (per province)
    The answer is not as simple as voting another Party (all the ANC & it’s alliance partners will do is sabotage the new kids on the block – & by the way if anyone believes SAPS & the SANDF are neutral parties in all of this they are fooling themselves)
    If we accept the above to be true (& not just the ramblings of a Grumpy Old Man) what do we need to do to fix ourselves & give our nations kids & half decent shot at a half decent future?

  • Bob Joseph says:

    “All it takes for Evil to prevail is that Good Men do nothing!”

  • Cornay Bester says:

    Ramaphosa frequently appeals to God, wanting us to believe he’s a Godly man, when we can see he’s anything but Godly.

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Now that I believe whole heartedly. cr definitely does not (seem to) adhere to Biblical principles. Maybe he reads a completely different Bible to the one Christians generally use, and attempt to adhere to.

    • William H says:

      ‘God’, in whatever form you believe it to exist (or not) has got nothing to do with this. Sadly, Ramaphosa is a spineless and corrupt politician, like most of the ANC. That is it.
      The reason this country is slowly decaying after ~30 years of democracy is because of one or both of two things: Incompetence and/or corruptness. Put more crudely, stupidity and/or thievery.

  • Graham Nelson says:

    We really have a huge problem in this country. Even today when the ANC has been proven to be corrupt to the core … their rallies are well attended by fanatical supporters who actually believe the party that is stealing from them is the party that should govern this country.
    I think that the 2024 election that we all can’t wait for is going to be a scary time. Whether the ANC get in with an EFF coalition or get voted out we will end up with more sh#t than even the pessimists bargained for. We all know what will happen if there is an EFF coalition … but the ANC thugs will cause havoc and sabotage any improvement the new government achieves if the ANC is voted out… So either way the country loses.

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    He is a person who cannot keep his word about anything or is also just as complicit as those mentioned in CJ Zondo’s report ?

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Nothing but sickening! This is typical Cyril the spineless and useless along with his vile, putrid, corrupt, criminal, predatory and treasonous party/government. He makes the right noises, talks the talk but never walks the walk. In this sense, he is a huge fraud – more urbane than the despicable thief-in-chief Zuma, but cut from the same anc cloth. Self-serving, duplicitous and immoral with party unity and interest above all. Hypocritical to the core and arrogant as well.

  • The corruption continues.. thecpresidentcofcthr present ruling party simply pays lip service to supposedly putting an end to it. He is as corrupt as his cabinet and enjoys the high life while we the PEOPKE suffer. South Africs small never gain her rightful place and status in the world again until this very corrupt abortion of the original , decent ANC is ousted and a truly Democratic cones into power.

  • Irmgard Becker says:

    Time to finally realise that the fat cats in charge really think that to say a thing is to do it. My school motto back in the day was “facta non verba”, or deeds not words. Don’t know what their school mottos were, maybe words not deeds? Setting up commissions of enquiry and committees to investigate is utterly useless and a total waste of public money if then nothing further is done. Time to get rid of the struggle old timers sleeping on their laurels and bring in some competent leaders. As the Bok’s have shown, they’re out there.

  • williamlaing105 says:

    And Cyril had the gall to take the world cup trophy out of Siya’s hands, on the world cup stage nogal, as if he and his corrupt and failed government had contributed to achieving it in any way.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    Ramaphosa spoke about 9 wasted years, but has added more wasteful years through his inaction and empty promises. The corrupt still go free and steal, but do it more stealthily than before, while others, such as those in Paris doing it blantantly

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    This is perhaps a very sad situation but there is hope. This hope lies in the people of the country who watched the Zondo Commission and were reviled to watch the Covid Corruption under Ramaphosa in the face of the pandemic and deaths. What the Zondo Commission has done was to put both the Covid lockdown and the industrial scale corruption of the governing party on the ballot. This is a point that those in power are missing. As the governing party is aware of the issues on the ballot and seeks to address some of the consequences of its corruption in Eskom, Transnet and PRASA and cruelly use these to campaign for 2024 they think that people are donkeys like in the past. The President had said it loud and clear in a leaked NEC in December 2021 talk that he is prepared for the CR17 to be exposed but he is not going to expose the ANC to a criminal prosecution as a recipient of proceeds of corruption. The matter died in parliament in SCOPA as usual but has not died amongst the South Africans. If people think the failure to fund these institutions is an accident, you have to go back to what he said in the ANC NEC in 2021. The tragedy that has happened in his failure has been our grey listing and more troubling, there are no investments coming to create jobs at the scale required as long as there is no will to decisively deal with corruption. as the interfaith group says, it is ” Our Country, Our Responsibility”. We must not only rely on the elections but also our civil society.

  • Denise Smit says:

    One sentence at beginning and end about rugby. Rest about ANC/EFF electioneering. Everything he says is achievements are all failures which the taxpayers have had to pay twice for, once construction of it and now rebuilding. Name all the destruction because of corruption, cadre deployment, lack of management and experitize: Education system, Police , Eskom, National Broadcaster, Postal Services, Transnet, Roads, Water systems, Ports, Income Tax, Railroads, Air transport, Construction , Health System, Parlement, National Prosecuting Authority, Agriculture, Arts and Culture, National parks, the value of the Rand, our standing in the Western World. What flourishes is Cosato and the labour unions and the ANC/EFF itself with assistance of cadre deployment and corruption. He leans of the good feeling around rugby to try to gain votes for the ANC/EFF. The 17th national holiday is an election ploy. Disgusting. Denise Smit

  • Con Tester says:

    Ramaposeur is a national embarrassment, which status he properly cemented with his smarmy, conceited and wholly undeserved appearance at the RWC victory festivities. Gutless, spineless, sackless, and utterly useless, he consistently conflates unctuous avuncular rhetoric with doing his actual job as SA’s first citizen, which, in case it’s not clear, is to promote the prosperity of this country and its people with unrelenting vigour.

    Madiba must be turning in his grave from mortification for endorsing this feckless fraud of man.

  • Chip Snaddon says:

    Ramaposer

  • Rae Earl says:

    This president is a windbag. He’s been talking these good races since 2017 without ever getting off his backside to make any meaningful decisions. The man is ruled by abject fear of the ANC NEC (his beloved ‘collective) which has brought SA to its knees, But there he stands telling us what a good job they’re doing. He has no pride, no embarrassment, no spine. Good bye SA if his party wins in 2024. Pray that the Multi Party Charter pulls the rug out from under this mob of corrupt political has-beens.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    He’s nothing but a slimy confidence trickster. Anyone who’s disappointed in him was taken in and should rather be embarrassed. Same is true of Gordhan. You can’t be both a senior member of the ANC and a decent human being.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    How sad that many hung their hope on the ANC and Ramaphosa and never asked the hard questions !!
    In the end, in the cold light of day it was just a race for the keys of the safe ……. the Tax payer !!!

  • How in God’s name can he say that things such as water and electricity supplies have improved. Come to northern KZN, Mr President and say that to the local populous.
    Our champions are multi racial teams. That is why they have succeeded.
    You should try it in government and get the best people, no matter what colour they are, into the jobs that would make this country prosperous, not your cronies who do not have the ability.

  • Val Ruscheniko says:

    “Banana Republic” just about sums it up nicely!

  • Les Thorpe says:

    He’s just a “front man” for the ANC crime syndicate. He’s instructed to appear to be the “good guy” and to repeat, over and over again, the statement about “fighting corruption”. The ANC crime syndicate has absolutely no intention to correct their ways. Why should they? They’re all smitten with the “greed/self enrichment” disease, and it must continue. It’s also obvious by now that the NPA have been instructed to “stay away”, no matter what the head honcho of the outfit says. Her job is on the line should the NPA start prosecuting any of the chosen/protected cadres.

  • Alan Downing says:

    It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the commentators of this and other DM articles that just about every resource rich country in the third world ends up as a corrupt dictatorship. This is because the rest of the world — the West, China, Russia —want it that way. It’s far easier to get your hands on resources and concessions from a corrupt dictatorship than from a well governed country. For the consuming countries it’s a double win: the bribe you pay comes back in the purchase of fancy cars and other western-made luxury goods.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    Who else was worried that Cyril was there to steal the trophy?

    Anyone? Anyone?

    Slow down that footage and he probably swapped it with fake!

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    All this is just further evidence that without cadre deployment and all the syphoning off of taxpayers money into the coffers of the ANC, the ANC would not be able to exist. Their whole funding model seems to have been based on the Russian idea of oligarchs, but with the only difference that in SA that is illegal and thus SOE’s and cadres have to be used to lay their hands on the taxpayers money. And thus the money is not available for service delivery and ensuring law and order, and that is why the country is in such a MESS . . .

  • Penny Philip says:

    The government ministers don’t do anything for the country. There is no need for them to have free generators & free fuel .

  • virginia crawford says:

    I wonder if he believes the lies he tells. He is surrounded by thieves. The people around him live like kings: can he possibly believe that they are honest, hardworking and very clever and their wealth is earned?

  • Robert K says:

    We all know he is useless, but he is infinitely better than that fascist monster Idi Amin Junior.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    One of Frogboilers “legacies” will be his huge talent at PROMISING offset by his incomparable ability to DO NOTHING. So, for him, consult, talk, promise, deny, blame but NEVER do what leaders must do and that is ACT DECISIVELY. Reality check; as impossible a it may seem, SA is far worse off under Frogboiler than was the case when Zuma was a wrecking ball.

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