US govt doing more to fight state capture than Ramaphosa - DA's Mazzone

The Gupta brothers. (Daily Sun)
The Gupta brothers. (Daily Sun)

The action by the US government shows what can be done when there is political will to steer South Africa in the right direction, the DA's Natasha Mazzone said on Friday.

She was reacting to the sanctions imposed against the Gupta family and associate Salim Essa.

The US Treasury announced sanctions on Thursday.

The US's Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said the Guptas and Essa have used their influence with prominent politicians and parties to line their pockets with ill-gotten gain.

"The Gupta family leveraged its political connections to engage in widespread corruption and bribery, capture government contracts, and misappropriate state assets," Sigal Mandelker said.

The DA welcomed the strong action by the US adding that the party viewed it as a positive step that could open the floodgates for several others to be held accountable.

"It is however unfortunate that President Cyril Ramaphosa's ANC government has not acted against a single individual that has been implicated in state capture. Instead, the Ramaphosa administration has awarded those involved in the looting of our state coffers. It is incomprehensible that not a single individual responsible for state capture has been arrested, let alone charged and hauled before the courts.

"The fact that it has taken US authorities to act against the Guptas and their acolytes, despite the numerous evidence presented at the Zondo commission, places a massive dark cloud of doubt over President Ramaphosa's intentions to clean up the rot, which he stood and watched happen for almost 10 years. Government is missing a huge opportunity to send a clear message to the public and the world – that rogue elements have no place in our country."

Mazzone lambasted the government and law enforcement officials for the slow pace in bringing high-ranking officials and politicians to book.

She said not a single case brought against high-ranking officials and politicians had a docket or has been referred to the NPA for criminal prosecution, despite hard-hitting evidence available in the public domain.

"The action by US government authorities has shown our own law enforcement agencies what to do when you have all the evidence you need to investigate and prosecute those implicated in wrongdoing - to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Mr Ramaphosa, this single act by the US government has done more in the fight against state capture than you and your administration have done to undo and act against this mass form of unabated corruption," she said.

Meanwhile, seven other countries have been approached for mutual legal assistance, in an attempt to have the Guptas extradited to face state capture allegations, News24 reported on Friday.

The countries are India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland, Mauritius, Hong Kong and China, the Department of Justice confirmed.

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