Ramaphosa declares the end of state capture, time for restoration

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on state capture. PHOTO: Screengrab

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced several new measures in line with recommendations made in the six-part report on state capture.

They include procurement reforms, stabilising and reforming state-owned enterprises, responding to abuses by the private sector, reforming intelligence agencies, protection and incentives for whistle-blowers, and creating a criminal offence for abuse of power and constitutional or political malpractice among others.

Ramaphosa also provided a progress report on the work done to recover monies and criminal prosecution proceedings.

“The Investigating Directorate that we established within the National Prosecuting Authority has to date enrolled 26 cases, declared 89 investigations and 165 accused persons have appeared in court for alleged state capture-related offences.

Our law enforcement agencies have, to date, been granted freezing or preservation orders to the value of R12.9 billion.

A total of R2.9 billion has been recovered and returned to the affected entities, with Sars collecting R4.8 billion in unpaid taxes arising from the work of the Commission.”

Stabilising and reforming state-owned enterprises

Ramaphosa says government has accepted the Commission’s recommendation to establish an Appointment and Oversight Committee for board and executive appointments at State-Owned Entities (SOE’s).

“Government accepts the recommendations on the need for a process for the appointment of SOE boards that is not open to manipulation, including the involvement of independent panels with appropriate technical expertise.”

Ministers and board members are now prohibited from playing any role in procurement practices.

State Capture Commission chairperson and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recommended that another commission of inquiry into the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa – Prasa.

The Commission said it has an “uneasy perception that there is much about the ills at Prasa that has not yet been uncovered”.

Clampdown in the private sector

The Zondo report advised amendments to the Companies Act that will allow a director to be declared a delinquent, even two years after their tenors. This is currently underway.

Other recommendations relating to the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and political party funding will be submitted to cabinet and made following the approval of the Electoral Amendment Bill.

“Amendments will be made to laws currently under review to, among other things, criminalise donations to political parties in expectation of state contracts, to bar suppliers who have engaged in dishonest or corrupt practices,” said Ramaphosa.

Reforming intelligence agencies

Weaknesses in the country’s intelligence services’ regulatory framework were identified as particularly vulnerable to abuse for political and personal gain.
“We will implement all of the Commission’s extensive recommendations on the intelligence services, together with the recommendations of the High-Level Review Panel on the SSA chaired by Dr Sydney Mufamadi,” Ramaphosa declared.

A new General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill is expected to implement many of the Commission’s recommendations including:

  • Establishing separate domestic and foreign intelligence services
  • Improving oversight of intelligence agencies
  • Giving practical effect to the principle that no member of the intelligence executive may be involved in the operational matters of the agency.

The Department of Justice is also reviewing the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to ensure that whistle-blowers receive the protections afforded by the UN Convention Against Corruption.

They will also have immunity from criminal or civil action arising from honest disclosures.

Ramaphosa said that while the era of state capture has ended, efforts will now be aimed at repairing and restoring the country.

“We are emerging from a dark and difficult period. Together, we have chosen a path of rebuilding, a path of renewal, a path of transparency and accountability, a path of justice and the rule of law.”

“There will be no place for corrupt people, for criminal networks, for perpetrators of state capture to hide,” promised the president.

Narissa Subramoney/ The Citizen