Government is serious about fighting corruption in South Africa, with law enforcement agencies already strengthening their capacities in order to clamp down on corrupt activities, both in public and private sectors.
“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions. The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.
Corruption has been at the core of the national conversation in South Africa over the last few months in the wake of allegations of state capture and corruption scandals from private sector. The allegations created a negative outlook for the country, especially with investors.
Delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament, President Ramaphosa said “we must fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same purpose and intensity”.
“We must remember that every time someone receives a bribe there is someone who is prepared to pay it. We will make sure that we deal with both in an effective manner.”
Government has committed that anti-corruption efforts within the state will be more effectively coordinated and all forms of corruption must be exposed and prosecuted.
President Ramaphosa urged professional bodies and regulatory authorities to take action against members who are found to have acted improperly and unethically.
“This requires that we strengthen law enforcement institutions and that we shield them from external interference or manipulation.”
The President said government will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to “ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered”.
Government feels that strong and efficient law enforcement agencies are critical to the fight against corruption and crime generally.
The new President, who has been vocal about corruption, further welcomed the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into state capture.
The inquiry, which is chaired by Justice Raymond Zondo, will investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, including organs of state.
The terms of reference state that the commission must investigate whether, to what extent and by whom, attempts were made, through any form of inducement or for any gain whatsoever to influence members of the National Executive, including Deputy Ministers, office bearers and directors of the boards of SOEs