Ramaphosa: South Africans will be awed when authorities start pouncing on the corrupt


President Cyril Ramaphosa has hit back against an apparent lack of urgency in arresting those accused of corruption at state-owned entities, saying due process takes time, and institutions governing rule of law in SA were still in a phase of rebuilding after being "weakened".

"When they do their work people will be awed and say 'wow' we didn't realise it would have this type of effect," he said on Tuesday, but added this would take time and the president cannot "just rush in and say arrest this one and that one and put them in jail."

Ramaphosa was answering questions about the state of SA economy and plans to in an interview with CNBC Africa , ahead of the start of the second annual investment conference in Johannesburg. 

Earlier in the interview Ramaphosa said that state-owned enterprises had been "debilitated by dysfunctionality and corruption," which has required government to bail them out.

"One of the things that [business people and investors] often complain about is that a lot of money was stolen and siphoned out of state-owned enterprises [but] why are people not getting arrested and not in jail," said Ramaphosa. "And we say – that too has to wait. That to has to wait for the process that we have got embedded in our laws and our constitution

Ramaphosa said that part of the reason for an apparent lack of urgency was that institutions overseeing laws and order in SA needed to be repaired and strengthened.

"They are going to pounce – they are definitely going to start doing their work."

Asked about why SA had not taken any similar steps to the sanctions announced by the US against the Gupta family and their associate Salim Essa in October, Ramaphosa said SA's different legal system meant the country did not have the ability to issue similar world-wide sanctions.

"American have different laws than we do. They are able to issues sanctions against anyone they want around the world. We don’t have those types of laws. People people need to understand that.

"It is very easy to be sensational and say 'Americans did it why can't you do it?' Our legal and jurisprudence is very, very different. But at the same time the commitment from the president right through the structures is that we are going to ensure that there is rule of law in our country, rule of law had been broken."  

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