This week marks exactly two years since the State Capture Commission held its final public hearing.
Over the course of its work, the Commission, headed by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, heard evidence from over 300 witnesses and collected more than 1.7 million pages of documentary evidence.
In October last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa submitted the government’s plan to Parliament in relation to the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.
In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Ramaphosa said that since then, significant progress had been made to implement various parts of the plan.
The State Capture Commission made 205 recommendations on the criminal investigation and possible prosecution of people and companies implicated in evidence before the commission.
To undertake that huge amount of work, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks set up an Integrated Task Force to coordinate investigations and prosecutions. There were currently nine cases in court, involving 41 accused people and 12 companies.
President Ramaphosa said that significant progress had also been made in recovering the proceeds of crime.
Freezing orders to the value of R13 billion have been granted to the NPA. A total of R5.4 billion had been traced and returned to the State. The South African Revenue Service (Sars) had collected unpaid taxes as a result of evidence before the State Capture Commission.
“While a necessary part of our response to state capture is to hold those responsible accountable for their actions and to recover stolen money, we are also making far-reaching legislative and institutional changes to reduce the potential for corruption,” Ramaphosa said.
So far, eight of the 14 new laws or legislative amendments identified in the implementation plan have been approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.
These, he said, address areas such as public procurement, the involvement of politicians in administrative matters, the conduct of public servants, the intelligence services, money laundering and electoral reforms.
A further six draft laws were in the process of public consultation with stakeholders.
“Further research is being done on some of the recommendations of the Commission, such as making the abuse of political power a criminal offence.
The Commission found that the procurement system was the main site for the theft and abuse of state resources.
In response to the Commission’s recommendation on the issue of dealing with corruption in the procurement system, government has since submitted the Public Procurement Bill to Parliament in May 2023.
Ramaphosa said this draft law would increase transparency in procurement processes, introduce binding codes of conduct for people involved in procurement and would improve processes to disallow suppliers who contravene procurement laws.
“While tangible progress is being made, it is clear to me that we will only be able to put state capture firmly behind us if all South Africans work together to rid our society of corruption in all its forms,” President Ramaphosa signed off.