Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament - Amidst heckling from EFF MPs, targeting the ANC benches, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the revelations emerging from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and other commissions was deeply disturbing.

He said these commissions revealed the breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing which challenged the very foundations of South Africa’s democratic state.

“We commend these commissions for the work they are doing, often under challenging circumstances, to uncover the truth.

“These commissions need to be able to do their work without any hindrance, and we call on all those people who are in a position to assist them in their investigations to make themselves available,” said Ramaphosa.

He said evidence of criminal activity emerging from the commissions should be evaluated by the criminal justice system.

Earlier this week several former Bosasa officials and those from the Department of Correctional Services were arrested and appeared in court charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering. The arrests related to a Special Investigation Unit report stemming from 2009 which re-emerged in three weeks of testimony by former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi.

“While these Commissions will in time make findings and recommendations in line with their mandates, evidence of criminal activity that emerges must be evaluated by the criminal justice system.

“Where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently,” said Ramaphosa.

He said government had agreed with the new national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi for the need to urgently establish, in her office, an investigating directorate to deal with serious corruption and associated offences.

“I will soon be promulgating a Proclamation that will set out the specific terms of reference of the Directorate.

“In broad terms, the Directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the directorate will identify priority cases for investigation and prosecution to recover assets identified to be the proceeds of corruption.

“The Directorate will bring together a range of investigatory and prosecutorial capacity from within government and in the private sector under an investigating director reporting to the NDPP.

“In the longer term, we will work with the NPA and other agencies of law enforcement to develop a more enduring solution that will strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice system to deal with corruption,” said Ramaphosa.

Political Bureau