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‘Nobody will collapse state capture probe’


Revelations at the inquiry, which has implicated several ministers, top politicians and senior state officials, had been a “cathartic” moment for South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

THE government will not allow anyone to collapse the commission of inquiry into state capture, an emphatic President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday told a media briefing at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

He said revelations at the inquiry, which has implicated several ministers, top politicians and senior state officials, had been a “cathartic” moment for South Africa.

“That commission is very important in the life of South Africa because it is executing a very important and historical task of getting to the bottom of what really happened with state capture,” Ramaphosa said.

“It may well be a cathartic moment for South Africa but it is also a moment of truth and we also want it to be a moment of redemption so that we put right what went wrong in the past and never, never, never again have the spate of corruption that has been revealed to the Zondo Commission.”

Ramaphosa said any attempts to collapse the commission would not be tolerated by the government or the judiciary. “What is pleasing is that we’ve got not only an independent judiciary, but what I call a headstrong judiciary, a judiciary that will not cow down to be intimidated, a judiciary that has a fierce commitment to the rule of law, which will not allow any task to collapse in their hands.”

The commission has heard testimony about the extent of the influence the controversial Gupta family wielded over the government, making billions of rand off state contracts awarded to them through corrupt dealings with government politicians and officials.

Over the past week it heard damning testimony from a former chief operations officer of Bosasa (now trading as African Global Operations), Angelo Agrizzi, on how the company milked the state through forging corrupt relationships with politicians and government officials.

Ramaphosa said the inquiry should be allowed to continue hearing evidence unhindered.

“The commission has heard evidence of corruption on a scale far greater than many people had expected,” he noted.

“As difficult and damaging as some of the testimony may be, this is an absolutely essential process that must be seen through to its conclusion if we are to put this shameful episode in our history behind us,” said Ramaphosa.

After almost a decade of “economic stagnation and political paralysis” South Africa had begun to turn things around, he said.

“We have entered a new period of hope and renewal, and over the last year we have taken decisive steps to correct the mistakes of the recent past and put the country back on the path of progress we embarked upon in 1994.”

Ramaphosa said the government had placed the task of inclusive growth and job creation at the centre of the national agenda.

“Around a third of working-age South Africans are unemployed, poverty is widespread and, sadly, levels of inequality are among the highest in the world,” Ramaphosa said.

African News Agency (ANA)