Jacob Zuma

The Zuma administration allowed crime to flourish

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 27, 2019

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Durban - Under the administration of former state president Jacob Zuma, organised crime was left to flourish while interference in investigations by the Hawks, SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority helped to entrench state capture.

This is according to a report co-authored by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Corruption Watch.

It further states that the country’s criminal justice agencies were manipulated for political and personal gain.

“During the Zuma era there was generalised impunity for those close to his faction,” the submission concludes.

“But in the end it was the inability to hide the scale of looting, and the audacity of attempts to capture every key institution of the state, particularly the Treasury and related institutions like the SA Revenue Service, that led to the demise of the Zuma regime.”

It notes that crime intelligence was used to promote the ruling party’s dominant faction by interfering with and manipulating processes and elections within the ANC which would ensure Zuma’s affiliates would not be held accountable.

“Manipulation of the criminal justice system was also evident under former president Thabo Mbeki, but was pursued more consistently and aggressively under Zuma, at the expense of South Africans’ safety and economic well-being,” the report states.

According to the authors, corruption was allowed to proliferate as the capacity to investigate complex commercial crimes was slashed, and the looting of state resources disregarded to protect powerful political factions.

“Mismanagement of the criminal justice agencies led to declines in their performance as they became a hostile environment for people committed to the rule of law.

“Interference in the police, and the appointment of police leadership without appropriate skills, led to a surge in armed robberies,” the report said.

It was also found that during Zuma’s tenure, there was an upswing in hijackings, cash-in-transits and robberies at homes and businesses, all of which led to an increase in the country’s murder rate.

The report also made recommendations to the commission of inquiry into state capture which include interrogating the integrity of those in leadership positions within the SAPS, Hawks and crime intelligence bodies.

“An audit should identify people who were irregularly appointed or promoted, or where they lack the required competence, experience and integrity.

The anti-corruption investigation and prosecution capacities of criminal justice agencies should be strengthened, and a review should be conducted of the SAPS crime intelligence division to enhance its performance, transparency and accountability. Particular attention should be given to the crime intelligence secret service account, which appears to have been routinely abused,” the report suggests.

It has called for the government to provide annual reports on all investigations and prosecutions of corrupt officials in criminal justice agencies.

Political analyst, Imraan Buccus, said the findings highlighted by the report were not surprising. “A factor that occurs in post-colonial societies is that there is a fine line between the state, the corporate sector and the underworld,” he said.

“In a context like SA, there are those who have a large political power but not a lot of economic power. So they enter into toxic relationships. We saw institutions of democracy being compromised during the Zuma era.”

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse’s Heinrich Volmink, said Outa has consistently fought against corruption and maladministration in South Africa. “We have submitted 11 submissions to the state capture commission based on the Gupta leaks and whistle-blower information,” Volmink said.

The Mercury

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