Ramaphosa vows to tackle corruption, problems in SARS and NPA

16 February 2018 - 20:17
President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife enters Parliament to deliver his state of the nation address on 16 February 2018.
Image: Esa Alexander President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife enters Parliament to deliver his state of the nation address on 16 February 2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa promised in his first state of the nation address (Sona) to turn the tide of corruption in public institutions.

In his maiden speech – delivered in Parliament on Friday evening – he called on South Africa's criminal justice institutions to continue pursuing state capture cases and said he would urgently deal with problems in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Ramaphosa also said he would shortly appoint a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The new president lauded developments in criminal justice institutions where there were breakthroughs in high-profile corruption cases, saying these developments would allow the government to deal with corruption efficiently.

“The commission of inquiry into state capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly. The commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored, and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.”

Interestingly, the newly elected president noted that the Zondo commission should not “displace the regular work of the country’s law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting any and all acts of corruption”. 

This week, the Hawks pounced on the Gupta family and issued warrants of arrests for former president Jacob Zuma’s friends.

Ramaphosa said the government had to fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private and public sectors alike.

“We must remember that every time someone receives a bribe, there is someone who is prepared to pay it. We will make sure that we deal with both in an effective manner,” he said.

Regarding the NPA and SARS, Ramaphosa said: “We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the NPA to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered.

“We must understand that tax morality is dependent on an implicit contract between taxpayers and the government that state spending provides value for money and is free from corruption.”

Newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address on February 16 2018.