New corruption-busting unit is not the Scorpions, Ramaphosa says

2019-02-11 18:05
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the description of the new anti-graft unit he announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week as the return of the old Scorpions, or Directorate of Special Operations, is not true.

In an interview following the 32nd African Union heads of state summit, Ramaphosa said "a lot of misinformation is going around that this is the return of the Scorpions. It isn't a return of the Scorpions".

He promised "to elaborate more clearly on what they were doing and how the unit was going to function" when he responds to the debate on the SONA this week.

However, he explained that it "is a unit set up in terms of our existing law, and it is going to be addressing specific areas of corruption. So on Thursday, watch this space when I reply in Parliament. I will be addressing this issue more specifically".

In his SONA, Ramaphosa said he had agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, that a new investigating directorate would be set up to deal with serious corruption and associated offences.

"In broad terms, the directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries."

He said South Africans should be patient and wait for the process of prosecutions to unfold and for prosecuting agencies to do their work "without political interference or fear".

He also cautioned against vengeance.

Ramaphosa is set to return to South Africa on Tuesday morning.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  politics
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