Final report into graft under South Africa’s Zuma released
NNN: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa received the latest in a series of damning reports from a four-year investigation into state corruption during the presidency of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, on Wednesday.
The report was delivered to Ramaphosa at his Union Buildings offices in Pretoria by the head of the investigative panel and Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in a televised ceremony.
The looting and mismanagement of South Africa’s state-owned companies during Zuma’s nine years in office has been called “state capture”.
“This report provides us with an opportunity to make a decisive break from the era of state capture,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that “the capture of the state was really an assault on our democracy, it violated the rights of every man, woman and child in this country.”
The state bribery investigation was triggered by a 2016 report by the country’s anti-corruption ombudsman, Thuli Madonsela, who at the time had recommended that the investigation be completed within six months.
But as more information was unearthed, legal investigations stretched into four years of testimony gathering.
In all, it took more than 400 days to collect evidence from some 300 witnesses, including Ramaphosa.
More than 1,430 people and institutions, including Zuma, were implicated.
Ramaphosa now has four months to act on the panel’s recommendations.
The first volume of the report was published in January and the entire document is now over 5,600 pages long.
One of the earlier reports published in April described Zuma as a “critical player” in the high-level looting of state-owned companies that dogged his nine-year term, which ended unceremoniously in 2018 when he was forced to resign.
Zuma was slapped with a 15-month jail sentence last year for refusing to testify before investigators.
He was granted parole just two months after his imprisonment, but not before his imprisonment sparked riots last July that left more than 350 dead.
Investigations revealed how Zuma’s friends, the wealthy Indian-born Gupta brothers, became involved at the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress, including influencing ministerial appointments under Zuma.
Two of the three Gupta tycoons were arrested in Dubai earlier this month and face extradition to South Africa to stand trial.
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