EDITORIAL | Here's the good news - the tide has turned against corruption

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Matshela Koko appearing before the Zondo Commission in May 2021. He was arrested on Thursday morning.
Matshela Koko appearing before the Zondo Commission in May 2021. He was arrested on Thursday morning.
Luba Lesolle/ Gallo Images via Getty Images

There is much in our nation to criticise President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet for, and we do this on a regular basis, but we should not become so cynical as a country to turn a blind eye to real progress.


It is no longer possible to say "nothing is happening" about a decade of state capture and corruption under former president Jacob Zuma.

Thursday morning's raids on the family and associates of rogue former Eskom boss Matshela Koko shows how far the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have come since being hollowed out to serve the interests of the previous ANC administration under Zuma.

There is much in our nation to criticise President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet for, and we do this on a regular basis, but we should not become so cynical as a country to turn a blind eye to real progress. The arrest of Koko – one of the loudest proponents of the state capture era – and the establishment of the Investigating Directorate (ID) as a permanent anti-corruption unit in the NPA should give long-suffering South Africans reason to hope.

Lazy to say nothing has changed

It is lazy and false to say nothing has changed, or things have deteriorated, under Ramaphosa's presidency. It's simply not true.

Five years ago, the NPA was headed by Shaun Abrahams and Nomgcobo Jiba. They did nothing to advance state capture cases in the wake of the Gupta Leaks, and protected Zuma and his cabal from prosecution.

Today, the NPA is led by an internationally renowned prosecutor in Shamila Batohi with a team of excellent deputies in Rodney de Kock, Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, Anton du Plessis and Nomvula Mokhatla. Mthunzi Mhaga is the special director in Batohi's office.

The ID, that is soon to become a permanent structure resembling the Scorpions of old, is led by a "veteran" Scorpions prosecutor in Andrea Johnson.

Johnson earned her stripes working as a career prosecutor in Gauteng, dealing with matters of organised crime and corruption. She was the co-prosecutor of former police chief Jackie Selebi, and her appointment in March has invigorated the ID, who arrested Koko with the Hawks at his house early on Thursday morning.

It is ironic that Abrahams will appear as the defence lawyer for one of the accused in the Eskom corruption matter.

At the Hawks, Godfrey Lebeya has managed to form a good working relationship with Johnson, and some of the best commercial crimes detectives have been transferred to the ID to assist with the state capture prosecutions.

Stay the course

In a recent op-ed piece for News24, De Kock outlined all the NPA's recent successes in arresting and prosecuting corruption and state capture suspects. Print this out and take it to your next braai or work party if you want to counter the "nothing has happened" narrative with facts.

The arrest and prosecution of Koko and his seven co-accused, for alleged corruption with Eskom tenders at Kusile that directly contributes to our current load shedding predicament, is a sign that things are changing for the good.

The NPA and the Hawks should stay the course and ensure that these arrests end in successful prosecutions to fully restore their integrity after years of plunder.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
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