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Pretoria - The government has moved to highlight successes in the fight against corruption, saying investigations are under way against 791 people, 92 of whom are believed to have illegally benefited to the tune of at least R5 million.
While Justice Minister Jeff Radebe declined to name names, he indicated on Sunday that the investigations were those prioritised by the government’s anti-corruption task team, which includes the police, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Sars.
Pretrial proceedings are under way in 98 priority cases involving 287 accused, while the trials of 159 accused are proceeding.
About 228 people were convicted on corruption-related charges in the 12 months ending in September.
Radebe said that between April and September the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) paid R149m into the criminal assets recovery account, set up to compensate victims of crime.
Money paid into the account included R12.4m seized from two rhino poachers, R1.6m from a Cape Town abalone smuggler, R6.2m from three drug smugglers, and more than R1.6m from a group of Nigerians who defrauded an American citizen.
The R67m returned to crime victims included three farms restored to rural development in KwaZulu-Natal by reversing the corruptly transferred properties to private persons or entities. The farms, valued at R52m, are Tangeni in Newcastle, Arthur’s Seat in Winterton and Weltevreden in Dundee.
Another R2.7m was returned to foreign investors who had been defrauded, while R1.5m was returned to Cape Town victims of the Pato Ponzi pyramid scheme, according to Sunday’s security cluster ministerial briefing.
Speaking at the briefing, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said small-minded people in the Afrikaner community believed there were plans for genocide against whites.
“That is devoid of truth. Only a small minority in the Afrikaner community believe that. They are sowing divisions among our people. The government is committed to the constitution with regards to our people,” he said.
Last month, several marches were held in different cities by groups of whites in protest against the “oppression” and “slaughter” of white people. In Cape Town, Red October protesters marched from Keizersgracht to Parliament, where they released red balloons. The group claimed that in the past year there had been 310 black-on-white attacks, resulting in 173 murders and 22 rapes.
Last week, it was reported that a farmer and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) member confessed that she was behind the murder last year of an Afrikaans farming family outside Griquatown in the Northern Cape. Cornelia de Wet, 37, is in custody at Kimberley Prison for her part in the murder of Marthella Steenkamp, 14, and her parents Deon, 44, and Christel, 43, on their remote farm in Naauwhoek.
She said the attacks were executed to scare farmers into using services of a security firm and also to incite racial hatred.
Cwele said he wanted to assure South Africans that they were not at risk of terrorist attacks. He said this in view of investigations to determine how British citizen Samantha Lewthwaite obtained a South African passport. Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow, is being sought by Interpol after the Westgate Mall siege in Kenya last month. She entered South Africa on a South African passport in 2008, and used it until 2011. Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said while investigations into Lewthwaite were ongoing, the department had improved security around issuing passports