State capture and corruption fight goes on, says Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa says the battle against government sleaze will continue until integrity is restored
The government has taken decisive action to end state capture and corruption in key state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and institutions and will continue to do so until the credibility and integrity of all parts of the state have been restored, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.
Since ascending to power earlier in 2018, the president has set his sights on dealing with state capture, which he says has contributed to SA’s economic woes, hampering plans to stimulate growth and create jobs.
The anti-corruption thrust has put him on a collision course with his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, and is said by some party members to be at the root of the ANC factional fights.
Zuma’s friendship with the Gupta brothers, who got billions in contracts and business from SOEs, is at the centre of state capture allegations.
Responding to a written question in Parliament on Monday from Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota, Ramaphosa said he was confident that the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo would get to the core of this state capture.
"The work of this commission is critical to ensuring that all instances of state capture are uncovered and that those responsible are identified so that the necessary action can be taken," said Ramaphosa.
The president has previously stated that tackling corruption, particularly within SOEs, would be critical in restoring confidence in public institutions.
The commission was critical in ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture was established, said Ramaphosa.
Lekota asked Ramaphosa whether he only became aware of the extent of state capture after the first published reports were released based on leaked Gupta e-mails, "despite the many instances of state capture appearing in the public domain, including the report of the former public protector on 14 October 2016 that transpired prior to the publication of the specified leaked e-mails."
Ramaphosa said allegations of the undue influence of the Gupta family and their associates in SOEs and public institutions, later known as state capture, had surfaced over a period of many years, including in the public protector’s State of Capture report of October 2016.
"However, it was not until the details of the so-called Gupta leaks were published from June 2017 onwards that one became aware of the extent, depth and methodology of state capture."
A cache of e-mail correspondence between the Gupta family and its associates, including cabinet ministers, revealed in 2017 how the Guptas, influenced state operations.
The e-mails revealed details of how the Guptas scored big government deals and captured state-owned entities. The state-capture allegations precipitated the demise of Zuma.