Amid growing calls for President Jacob Zuma to be held accountable for his alleged role in state capture, he believes his administration is doing all it can to root out corruption.Zuma says statements by opposition parties casting doubt on the government’s work in this regard are therefore
“In fact, it is because the government has dedicated a lot of effort in combating corruption, both in the public and the private sector, that corruption has occupied a priority space in public dialogue,” Zuma said in a written reply to a question in the National Council of Provinces.
He was responding to a question from Mpumalanga DA MP Farhat Essack on how he would deal with the graft “which has permeated South Africa”.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report and the so-called Gupta links, and more recently the evidence before Parliament’s inquiry into Eskom, have all placed the president at the heart of state capture.
Zuma on Friday listed “a plethora of measures” he said were being implemented to curb corruption, both in government and the private sector.
The president said his administration continued the fight against corruption first instituted at the advent of democracy, and that a “plethora” of measures had been adopted to eradicate corruption. So proud of his administration’s achievements, he cited South Africa’s eight-rank increase on the 2017 corruption barometer – an improvement over the past four years.
Zuma said the government had adopted a multi-agency approach in which comprehensive “anti-corruption architecture” had been created, and a “resilient anti-corruption system was in place”. He was quick to point out how in 2010 he established the anti-corruption inter-ministerial committee, led by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and was supported by existing government mechanisms.
“Since 2009 to date, I have signed 84 proclamations authorizing the Special Investigating Unit to investigate maladministration and corruption in government and state institutions,” he said.
However, the president’s claims came just as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told a media briefing that Zuma should appear before an inquiry into state capture.
Two years after Madonsela’s state of capture report recommended a commission of inquiry be set up, Zuma finally agreed in October to initiate the process – but only on his own terms.
In papers submitted at the high court in Pretoria, he said he would be willing to set up the commission if Madonsela’s report was set aside by the court.
The report recommended that the commission be headed by a judge chosen by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa said he saw no reason why the president would refuse to testify before the inquiry. “I have gone public to say we want law-enforcement agencies to investigate and conclude these matters. The NPA must work on these, and one expects and hopes that such a process is underway. I can’t believe you can have wrongdoing on such a grand scale and not have any accountability,” he said.
However, in a recent interview with the Gupta-linked broadcaster, ANN7, Zuma denied the existence of state capture, calling it a “fake political tool”. “They can’t just make it sound so important and big, this state capture
“What is a state capture? I am sure very keen to know,” he said.
By: SHAIN GERMANER/Saturday Star