It was most encouraging to hear public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan informing parliament during the state of the nation address (Sona) debate that it was his intention to take steps to recover the loot of state capture.

He is right that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were the “honeypot” of the looters, none of whom have been held to account either in the civil or the criminal courts of the country, and indeed the world. However, the minister is misguided if he thinks criminal proceedings are the first avenue of attack. On the contrary, a more manageable onus of proof and the availability of special procedures worldwide in the civil courts ought to impel him to turn to the civil courts first...

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