I made this submission nearly six years to the month after former Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela released her ‘State of Capture’ report, in which she investigated complaints of alleged unethical conduct by several state functionaries and private individuals and companies.
During four years of public hearings, our nation was saddened, outraged and left in disbelief by testimony of how a criminal network in government, public institutions and private companies had raided state coffers and vandalised institutions of our democracy.
Amid the depressing testimony, people’s anger at the events that had unfolded and citizens’ demands for consequences, retribution and restoration was a clear signal that South Africans are prepared to fight to preserve their values.
Upon closer consideration, the process of uncovering crimes against our democracy gave us more reason for hope than despair.
The reactions of the overwhelming majority of South Africans highlighted the nation’s disdain for corruption and our determination that corruption and unethical corporate or public management will not be allowed to define us as a nation.
Almost daily now, we read reports of people being arrested and appearing in court on charges related to state capture. We read about misappropriated assets being frozen and property being seized.
The scenes that are unfolding in our courts today are because investigators and prosecutors are living up their professional obligations and the expectations of the nation they serve.
In compliance with an order of the judiciary, the executive branch of the state has now submitted a response plan to the legislature, as further evidence of the good and growing health of our democratic dispensation.
While we prosecute state capture suspects and recover stolen funds, what is required on the part of all South Africans is our conscious, daily examination of our own values, beliefs and behaviours and the motives and actions of others.
Following the submission of our response to the State Capture Commission, government is poised to work with social partners and communities on this great undertaking, which will be passed on from generation to generation into our future.
This moment of renewal is upon us and urges us to restate the vision of our National Development Plan of “a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption, in which an empowered citizenry has the confidence and knowledge to hold public and private officials to account and in which leaders hold themselves to high ethical standards, and act with integrity”.
We have made great progress in the fight against state capture, all due to the efforts of the people of South Africa. The path ahead will be challenging, but if we work together in implementing the recommendations of the State Capture Commission, we will succeed in building the society and the state that we want.
The path ahead will be challenging, but if we work together in implementing the recommendations of the State Capture Commission, we will succeed in building the society and the state that we want.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa