South Africa will review its anti-corruption strategy and guarantee the independence of prosecutors, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday, responding to recommendations from a state investigation into alleged corruption under his predecessor.
A judicial commission of inquiry has been established to examine allegations of high-level corruption during former President Jacob Zuma’s nine years in power, from 2009 to 2018.
“The people of South Africa are tired of corruption and they want it to end,” Ramaphosa said on a live television broadcast. “As a country, we are coming out of a dark and difficult period.”
The investigation found that Zuma had allowed businessmen close to him, the Atul brothers, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, to plunder state resources and influence politics, commonly known as “state capture” in South Africa.
The Guptas deny any wrongdoing and left the country, but face extradition proceedings in Dubai. Zuma denies any wrongdoing and at one point refused to cooperate with the investigation, leading to his jailing in July 2021 for contempt of court.
Investigative reports said the investigations, which implicated ANC politicians and company executives, found rampant bribery in key economic sectors, including state-owned companies such as the electric power company Eskom and the transport and logistics group Transnet.
Evidence uncovered by the investigation may be used by authorities to bring criminal charges.
Ramaphosa said of the plans to review South Africa’s anti-corruption strategy: “Through the implementation of the actions contained in this response, we can start a new chapter in our fight against corruption.”
In a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly, Ramaphosa said his response outlines the steps the government will take to catch the suspects and other reforms.
Ramaphosa, who served as state vice president under Zuma, testified at the inquest that he chose to “stay but resist” rather than resign when the allegations surfaced.