SA has 'rebuilt the supporting architecture' to fight corruption - Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
PHOTO: Thomas Lohnes, Getty Images
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says the NPA's agreement with Swiss firm ABB Ltd is a "huge development" in fighting corruption.
  • The company has agreed to pay punitive reparations to South Africa for bribes allegedly paid to win Eskom contracts.
  • The agreement shows South Africa is making headway in fighting state capture and corruption, he says.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called a landmark agreement with a Swiss company implicated in corruption at Eskom a "huge development in our effort to hold those responsible for state capture to account".

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Investigating Directorate (ID) finalised an agreement with Swiss engineering company, ABB Ltd, to pay R2.5 billion in punitive reparations to South Africa in connection with bribes allegedly paid to obtain contracts with Eskom between 2014 and 2017.

The funds will be paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account. The R2.5 billion is in addition to R1.6 billion that ABB paid Eskom in 2020 to settle an investigation into alleged criminal conduct involving contracts at the Kusile power station.

READ | Eskom corruption: Multinational ABB to pay SA R2.5bn for dodgy Kusile deal

"For the last five years, we have been working hard to end the looting of resources meant for the benefit of South Africa's people, to prosecute those responsible and recover stolen funds. When we embarked on this journey, we understood that the results would not be felt overnight," Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

"We first had to rebuild state institutions that had been deliberately weakened, emptied of expertise and rendered incapable of preventing capture by criminal elements."

He added:

We had to strengthen law enforcement institutions and shield them from outside interference.

One of the steps taken by the government was to establish the Investigating Directorate in 2019 to deal with cases emanating from the state capture commission and other corruption-related offences.

The government recently announced that the Investigating Directorate would become a permanent structure.

READ | Inside track: Eskom awards R400m contract, despite red flag over tender documents

Ramaphosa added that, over the past few months, several cases had been brought against former executives of state-owned enterprises and business people for allegedly colluding to steal public funds.

He said work was in progress to recover money from irregular and corrupt contracts and overpayments, and that investigations into corruption and mismanagement at state institutions were ongoing.

"At the height of the state capture era, unscrupulous politicians repurposed state institutions for private enrichment and to cover their tracks.

"Today we have law enforcement authorities and a prosecuting authority devoted to investigating and prosecuting without fear or favour," he said.

Ramaphosa continued: "As a society, we need to give these agencies and the people working in them our full support and encouragement.

"We need to guard against any efforts to weaken these institutions or undermine their resolve.

"Working together, we have, within a relatively short space of time, rebuilt the supporting architecture to investigate and prosecute serious corruption and other crimes."

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