South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is flanked by members of his Cabinet at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday. PHOTO: GCIS

DAVOS-KLOSTERS – President Cyril Ramaphosa has stressed the return of the rule of law and said that those complicit in acts of corruption would be brought to book.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a press conference at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday and said "we are seeking to reconfirm that South Africa is a place where rule of law should be the order of the day".

Flanked by key members of his cabinet, Ramaphosa made it clear that integral state institutions were being restored in a bid to boost investor confidence and attract international investment.

"A critical undertaking that we have embarked on is the restoration of the rule of law and the integrity and credibility of our public institutions."

He pointed to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and said it had begun its work in earnest "to uncover evidence of the capture of several state institutions and processes by private interests". 

"This state capture has damaged several critical institutions in our country, damaged confidence in our economy and resulted in the theft of quite a lot of money from the people of South Africa.

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

"But the positive thing is that while the truth has come out, it has added to our resolve as a country and as a government, and indeed, as a people to fight corruption, to bring it to an end and to make sure that those who have been complicit in acts of corruption are brought to book."

Ramaphosa said the commission and its findings offered South Africa "a very firm platform to start afresh, to start anew, to cleanse our institutions and reposition them so they can serve the interests of South Africa".

He cited the prosecuting authority, the police service and other agencies as being in the process of being restored, as well as the revenue service which he said had been put on its proper path once again.

Ramaphosa also had stern words for anyone who harboured thoughts of collapsing the state capture inquiry through false news, saying such acts would not be tolerated by the government and the judiciary.

Ramaphosa said revelations at the commission - which has implicated several cabinet ministers, top politicians and senior state officials - had been a "cathartic" moment for South Africa. 

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

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

African News Agency (ANA)