We are corruption-busters – Zuma

2013-04-27 19:23

The fight against crime was more intense in South Africa than it was in many other countries, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“Fellow South Africans, I must underline here that of all the countries that I know of, very few compare to South Africa in the effort to fight corruption,” Zuma said.

“In other countries nobody talks about [fighting] corruption. We fight corruption here. We are more in the media because we fight corruption. We declared war against corruption and we are making progress.”

He said corruption will not be allowed to steal the fruits of freedom.

Zuma was addressing thousands of people gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria for the annual Freedom Day commemoration.

“By the end of December 2012, criminal investigations were initiated against 237 persons by the task team (justice, crime and prevention security cluster’s anti-corruption task team) and 21 staff members within the criminal justice system were convicted.”

Zuma said a total of 718 people are currently under investigation for “corrupt activities”.

“Freezing Orders to the value of more R1 billion have been obtained,” he said.

Between 2009 and 2013, Zuma signed 34 proclamations directing the Special Investigating Unit to investigate various government departments and state owned entities.

“The unit has completed some of the investigations and will be sending reports to the Presidency,” said Zuma.

Read: SIU criticised for lower graft-fighting targets

He said the private sector should assist government by fighting corruption within its own ranks.

Zuma told the crowd that significant economic improvements have been made since the attainment of democracy in 1994.

“While income inequality remains high, the expansion of our social grant system from 2.7 million in 1994 to 16 million currently has contributed to a significant reduction in the proportion of households living in poverty,” said Zuma.

“There are many achievements on the economic front as well. The South African economy has expanded by 83% over the past 19 years.”

Zuma said despite numerous trying moments encountered in the young democracy, like the Marikana tragedy, South Africans stood together in unity.

He was referring to August 16 last year when police shot dead 34 striking miners at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, in the North West. An inquiry into the incident was under way.

“Many thought the Marikana tragedy marked the end of the road for a peaceful and democratic South Africa but working together, we rose above the tragedy and put our country first,” he said.

“We await the conclusion of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into this painful matter.”

The 2013 Freedom Day celebration is being held under the theme “Mobilising society towards consolidating our democracy and freedom”.

After speaking at the Union Buildings, Zuma bestowed national orders on several South African and foreign nationals at an event held at the nearby Sefako M Makgatho presidential guest house.

Olympic swimming champion Chad le Clos, football legend Kaizer Motaung and Lead SA activist Yusuf Abramjee were on the list of recipients.

United States civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and African Union commissioner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were also honoured along with numerous other politicians, musicians, and scientists.

Other recipients of the national orders include plastic and reconstructive surgeon Sayed Ridwan Mia, Vusi Mahlasela, Pretty Yende, praise poet Zolani Mkiva, Paralympic athlete Ilse Hayes and Nontisikelelo Qwelane (92), the oldest known South African teacher.

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