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South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa touches his head during his testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in August 2021.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was just one of the high profile politicians testifying at the Zondo commission. Image: Sumaya Hisham/AP Photo/picture alliance
PoliticsSouth Africa

Zuma-era graft report given to President Cyril Ramaphosa

January 4, 2022

Almost four years after it began, the Zondo Commission has completed the first part of its anti-graft report. Two more installments are expected before those implicated are likely to be prosecuted.

https://p.dw.com/p/457rc

A South Africa commission investigating corruption during the presidency of Jacob Zuma handed over the first part of its final report to President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture has heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses who spoke out about graft during Zuma's two terms, between 2009 and 2019.

"This is what I would call a defining moment in our country's effort to definitively end the era of state capture, and to restore the integrity, credibility and capability of our institutions." Ramaphosa said.

State capture refers to the way private individuals and companies have illegally influenced state institutions to do their own bidding.

The remaining two installments of the report will be handed over before the end of February.

"We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the findings and recommendations of the commission not only mark a decisive break with the corrupt practices of the past, but that they provide the foundation for greater transparency, accountability and ethical conduct within all state institutions and across society," Ramaphosa said.

Zondo Commission investigated 'state capture'

The commission, headed by South Africa's acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, took nearly four years to complete its work.

"Its been a grueling four years," Zondo said.

His commission started hearing oral testimonies in August 2018. They were broadcast live in South Africa and included evidence from high-ranking politicians.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma is accused of enabling the plunder of state coffers during his nine years in office.Image: Shiraaz Mohamed/AP Photo/picture alliance

Zuma set up the Zondo commission himself in 2018 after a order from the High Court in Pretoria. The order came after South Africa's Public Protector found evidence of possible corruption at the top level of Zuma's government.

He was forced to resign, a month after setting up the commission. 

Zuma had a contentious relationship with the commission

At an initial appearance at the commission in 2019 he said: "I have been vilified and alleged to be the king of corruption."

He ignored numerous summonses to appear before the commission again.

Last year the country's Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt for his refusal to appear at the commission again and sentenced him to 15-month in prison.

Dozens dead in S Africa riots

Zuma's jailing in July sparked a series of violent protests and looting in which more than 350 people died

He was released on medical parole but a court has since ordered him back to jail. An order his legal team was appealing.

Ramaphosa to report to lawmakers 

Hours before the report was handed over on Tuesday an organization called Democracy in Action launched a bid in the High Court in Pretoria to stop Ramaphosa from receiving the final report.

They argued Ramaphosa has been implicated in testimony before the inquiry and the final report should have been handed over to the deputy president or the Public Protector.

But the court rejected their arguments and scrapped the case from the roll.

Ramaphosa has until the end of June to tell parliament what he plans to do with the Zondo Commission's report.

He however promised to make each part of the report public immediately after it is submitted to him.

"People of this country could not have gone through the four years, and the costs, and expect that the report the outcomes and recommendation won't be implemented, they will be implemented," Ramaphosa said.

Those implicated could be charged by the National Prosecuting Authority. "They should go ahead and act," Ramaphosa said.

lo/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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