Now it’s time to act on Zondo’s findings
The final section of the six-part report produced by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture headed by chief justice Raymond Zondo is now in the public domain.
The report runs to more than 5,400 pages and is the product of four years’ intense work, during three of which the commission heard testimony from key figures.
The result is a devastating indictment on former president Jacob Zuma and his ruinous period in office when he “abused his position as president of the country” to enable the enrichment of his relatives, friends and political allies.
Be it the State Security Agency or parastatals such as Transnet, Eskom and SAA, cronies and lackeys of Zuma and the notorious Gupta brothers presided over corruption and nepotism that brought state institutions to their knees and cost the country billions.
This had direct consequences for ordinary citizens who still suffer from load-shedding, poor public infrastructure and transport and the results of a weakened economy.
Tellingly, the commission has found the ruling party, the ANC, is responsible, having condoned and enabled the corruption and failed to abide by the country’s laws and constitution.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was previously Zuma’s deputy, has not come out smelling of roses, with the report questioning how much he knew and why he did not do more to call a halt to state capture far earlier.
It is now time for the next steps.
The commission’s report should provide a solid basis for a string of prosecutions, starting with Zuma, who stands accused of betraying his oath of office and his country.
There are other crucial ramifications, notably that the report recommends scrapping cadre deployment, a policy of the ANC which is found to be unconstitutional and unlawful.
It also suggests electoral reform to allow the president to be directly elected by the public, rather than selected by a political party.
Our country owes the chief justice and his team a huge debt of gratitude for having persevered in the face of often intense and unpleasant pressure to produce these seminal findings.
It is now up to Ramaphosa, his government, parliament and the ruling party to act on the findings so that our country and its institutions are safeguarded in future.
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