When newly appointed prosecutions boss Shamila Batohi took office in February she spoke at length about what she believed was at the heart of SA’s rampant corruption and criminality: the “cancer of impunity”. Her metaphor was apt — the perfect way to describe how, when there are no consequences for lawlessness, it becomes emboldened to spread within SA’s public and private sectors until there is no immunity left and the country’s economy and institutions are terminally ill. In the past few weeks and months, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law a number of crucial pieces of legislation that appear to be aimed at fighting back against that widespread cancer. Since the beginning of April, the auditor-general has had the power to initiate action against government officials responsible for “any fraud, theft, breach of a fiduciary duty or noncompliance with or contravention of the law that could result in a material loss, the misuse or loss of a material public resource or substan...

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