Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the handover of the first part of the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture from the Commission’s Chairperson, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo:
Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo,
Minister in the Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele,
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola,
Secretary of the Commission, Prof Itumeleng Mosala,
Director-General in the Presidency, Ms Phindile Baleni,
Members of the media,
Fellow South Africans,
This is 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, but more importantly, our government.
The formal handover of the first part of the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector takes place nearly four years since the establishment of the commission.
This occasion marks the beginning of the final phase of the Commission’s work, which will culminate with the submission of the remaining parts of the report by the 28th of February 2022.
I should extend my gratitude – and also indeed the nation’s gratitude – to the Chairperson of the Commission, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, for this extraordinary feat of public service.
For close on four years, Justice Zondo has pursued this profound responsibility with dedication, with determination, also with a great deal of patience.
We wish him well as he enters the final stretch of the Commission’s work.
I also wish to extend a word of gratitude to the Secretary of the Commission Prof Mosala, the heads of the investigation and legal teams, the evidence leaders, the researchers and the other Commission staff for the valuable contribution they have made to the national effort to confront state capture.
I wish to thank the many people who gave evidence before the Commission, and to the academics, investigators and journalists whose work contributed to uncovering many of the matters before the Commission.
It is important also to recognise the contribution of the former Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, whose initial investigation into allegations of state capture laid the foundation for the establishment of this Commission of Inquiry.
Lastly, I wish to acknowledge and commend the actions of the South African people, whose shared determination to end corruption and demand clean governance enabled the establishment and work of the Commission.
It was the people of this country who, in their various formations, stood up to what they saw as acts of gross wrongdoing and abuse of power.
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.
This Commission would not have reached this stage if the whistleblowers in various entities did not come forward to uncover some of these acts wrongdoing, often at great risk and cost to themselves. We need to thank them for their courage and service to the country.
As required by the ruling of the Gauteng High Court on the 28th of December 2021 – and in line with the remedial action contained in the Public Protector’s report dated October 2016 – I will submit the full Commission report to Parliament by the 30th of June 2022 with an indication of my intentions with regards to implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.
As I indicated to the Court, only once the final instalment has been received will it be possible to have complete sight of the report’s implications and to develop an implementation plan on the recommendations.
Government will therefore not make pronouncements on the findings nor recommendations of the Commission’s report before having received all parts of the report and having considered all three parts of the report.
We will, however, commence with the consideration of the parts of the report as they are submitted to the Presidency, and will be putting in place appropriate mechanisms to effectively and thoroughly process the findings and recommendations.
This will include engagement with all relevant departments, agencies, public entities and other stakeholders as considered necessary.
This process, which we expect will culminate in the submission of the report and implementation plan to Parliament by the end of June 2022, does not prevent other institutions from acting within their statutory mandate on any of the findings and recommendations of the report.
While the terms of reference of the Commission require the submission of the Commission’s report and recommendation to the President, the reality is that the report of the Commission really belongs to the people of South Africa. It does not belong to the President.
The people of South Africa fought for the establishment of the Commission, have closely observed the proceedings of the Commission and have the greatest interest in the outcome of Justice Zondo’s Commission.
I have therefore decided to release to the public each part of the Commission’s report immediately after it is submitted to me.
The first part of the Commission Report will therefore be available on the Presidency website within the next few hours.
In conclusion, I wish to recall my closing remarks during my appearance before the Commission in August last year:
Perhaps the most devastating and lasting cost of state capture and corruption is its effect on the confidence of the South African people in the leaders and officials in whom they placed great trust and responsibility.
State capture has damaged people’s confidence in the rule of law, in public institutions, in law enforcement agencies and, even to some extent, in the democratic process.
That is what makes the work of this Commission so essential.
The people of South Africa look to this Commission to uncover the truth, to identify those responsible, and to recommend measures that will prevent state capture from happening ever again in South Africa…
As a country, we are emerging from a difficult period.
Together, we have chosen a path of rebuilding and renewal, of transparency and accountability, of justice and the rule of law.
I have every confidence that, no matter the challenges we face, we will walk this path together as South Africans and we will prevail.
This report enables us to up our tempo in the fights against state capture, and if we work together we will be able to rid our country of the gross actions of corruption we have seen in the past.
I thank you.
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