Steps taken by government to deal with state capture

Thursday, February 8, 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa has outlined the gains that government has made in dealing with state capture and rooting out corruption.

“One of the overriding challenges this administration had to deal with when it took office was state capture and corruption. Our first priority was to put a decisive stop to state capture, to dismantle the criminal networks within the state and to ensure that perpetrators faced justice,” President Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall, President Ramaphosa said government had appointed capable people with integrity to head law enforcement agencies, government departments, security services and state companies.

These appointments were often done through independent and transparent processes.

“The credibility and efficiency of a number of institutions like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) have been 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.

“Great progress has been made in bringing those responsible for state capture to justice. More than 200 accused persons are being prosecuted. More are under investigation. 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,” the President said.

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

“We have taken steps, including through new legislation, to strengthen our ability to prevent money laundering and fraud and secure our removal from the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force.

“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. But there is much more work to be done to eradicate corruption completely,” he said.

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

“We will not stop until every person responsible for corruption is held to account. We will not stop until all stolen money has been recovered. We will not stop until corruption is history.

“The real tragedy of state capture was that it diverted attention and resources away from what government should have been doing, which is to grow our economy and create jobs,” the President said. –