There has been significant pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa to address escalating corruption at governmental level in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in particular, and years of state capture in general.
During his 2021 State of the Nation Address (Sona), he said that “corruption is one of the greatest impediments to the country’s growth and development”.
This, he added, is especially true in light of damning testimonies heard during the State Capture Commission, laying bare the extent of corruption.
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Ramaphosa said hearings have revealed how the criminal justice system in South Africa has been “compromised and weakened”.
He said it was essential that the momentum of the “rebuilding effort” embarked on three years ago when the Commission was established must be continued.
“There has been great progress in turning around law enforcement bodies,” he continued, saying that “crucial leadership positions” had been filed by officials who are “capable, experienced and trustworthy”.
A more integrated approach to investigations and prosecutions has also been experienced, he said.
A national anti-corruption strategy has now been implemented, which Ramaphosa said, laid the basis for “a comprehensive and integrated society-wide response to corruption”.
“We will shortly be appointing the members of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, which is a multi-sectoral body that will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that reports to Parliament.”
Ramaphosa also addressed issues of personal protective equipment (PPE) fraud and corruption.
He said that decisive action saw government putting a stop to these “practices”, which are still being investigated by bodies such as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
So far, corruption into 164 contracts worth R3.5 billion has been uncovered. The SIU is still conducting a PPE scandal probe into 2,556 contracts valued at more than R13.3 billion.
A “Fusion Centre” bringing together law enforcement agencies has been established to share information and resources.