State looters have left SA so broke it’s harder to prosecute them now – justice minister

State looters have left SA so broke it’s harder to prosecute them now – justice minister

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola. Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency / ANA

Despite the breakdown of the ability of the state to prosecute the corrupt, Ronald Lamola says their time is coming soon.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says there won’t be any reconciliation with those who have ‘derailed’ the liberation of South Africa.

Lamola gave the keynote address at a fundraising gala dinner, hosted by the foundation of former President Kgalema Motlanthe in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

The dinner was attended by Motlanthe and Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

He said he believed South Africa resembled the country it was 25 years ago and added that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was preparing to crack down on alleged looters.

“Those who’ve looted the state have looted money supposed to [be used to] prosecute them,” Lamola said plainly when he spoke about the daunting task the NPA had prosecuting those involved in corruption.

“We believe the NPA will be able to do its job very soon,” Lamola said as the audience applauded.

He said the NPA had not been able to recruit over the past five years, saying “skills were hounded out of the NPA”.

The minister added that his ministry was doing all it could to support the NPA.

He said while politicians enabled the state capture project, it took specialists, such as architects, engineers, lawyers and chartered accountants, for it to succeed.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without systematic hands. We need the same measure of skill [to fix it],” he said.

Just this week, testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry from Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse revealed that Crime Intelligence’s secret service account was allegedly looted by officials for cars, the employment of unqualified family members and overseas trips.

South Africa has been reeling over claims that some officials, including ministers and a former president, have been involved in corruption.

But there have been no major arrests and many have been putting pressure on the NPA to act.

Criticism of judiciary

Several political leaders, such as the EFF’s Julius Malema and the ANC’s Trevor Manuel, have recently criticised court rulings which were not in their favour.

Lamola also said that while some criticism against the judiciary was fair, there were concerns over repeated attacks against the judiciary.

He said this, coupled with calls for the death penalty, was an indication that the state the ANC-led government sought to build in the democratic dispensation had not taken form and that South Africans had not fully embodied the “constitutional ethos” of the country.

“The beneficiaries of state capture have to discredit an arm of the state to sustain a particular narrative because it is clear, unlike the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, there is no room to reconcile with those who derailed the liberation of our people,” he said.

Lamola added that attacks on the courts could not be personal.

“Criticism cannot be a personal attack or degrading the rule of law,” he said.

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