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Corrupt people must face the music

Rajesh and Atul Gupta were arrested in Dubai on Saturday. ActionSA is among the organisations keenly watching how the legal process will unfold.
Rajesh and Atul Gupta were arrested in Dubai on Saturday. ActionSA is among the organisations keenly watching how the legal process will unfold.
Image: File photo

One of the basic tenets of a justice system is that there should be consequences for breaking the law.

In SA, too often, such consequences are neither speedy, nor inevitable.

It was therefore welcome news that two of the notorious Gupta brothers, Atul and Rajesh, had been arrested in the UAE and now face extradition to SA on charges that include money laundering.

We trust their brother, Ajay, will in time join them.

The Guptas allegedly masterminded the web of corruption that saw institutions of democratic SA  attacked by those intent on state capture.

Regrettably, there is little chance the trio will return soon as the extradition proceedings almost certainly will involve much legal to and fro.

We strongly hope that in the end they will face the music.

One of the great frustrations in our country is that rarely do we see people accused of serious corruption face the consequences, the more so if they are exceedingly wealthy, or politically connected.

The message is unfortunate: You can get away with large-scale theft and even if the law catches up with you, interminable legal proceedings —  the so-called Stalingrad approach perfected by the Guptas’ pal, ex-president Jacob Zuma — will delay a day of judgment.

While the NPA is closing in on many who have been linked to state capture, the list is long and the matters complex.

Meanwhile, those implicated merrily carry on with their lives while ordinary citizens pay the price for broken infrastructure and looted funds.

It is a similar situation for many other cases of corruption and fraud in both the private and public sector, including in our province.

This is why the recovery by the SIU of R35m from the ECTCC and affiliates, money allegedly unlawfully misappropriated from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Covid-19 Ters funding, is to be applauded.

According to investigators, an amount of R220m was paid by the government for the benefit of employees but it is questionable where the money went and it seems likely that most of the money is lost to those for whom it was intended.

If that is the case, we trust criminal proceedings will follow, as they should in all cases of fraud and corruption, big and small.

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