The legal procedures required to bring those accused of state capture and other acts of high-level corruption to justice grind on. President Cyril Ramaphosa has so far refused to be pushed into intervening in the process but will his nerve hold as the pressure to do something mounts? Report by Rafiq Raji.
In mid-February, Bantu Holomisa, president of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) party, exclaimed "we now know the cost of state capture--billions of rands have been stolen and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been weakened".
Holomisa made these remarks at UDM's manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth against the backdrop of renewed load-shedding by the country's state power utility monopoly, Eskom, which the UDM president attributed to state capture. "Eskom is no longer able to perform [its] service as it should." He was only stating the obvious.
During his second State of the Nation Address a week earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the matter quite succinctly. "The revelations emerging from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture and other commissions are deeply disturbing, for they reveal a breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing that challenges the very foundation of our democratic state."
More importantly, he said: "Where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently."
Incidentally, Holomisa's speech a week later, happened at exactly the same time the ruling ANC president was addressing party faithfuls at their own manifesto roll-out in Limpopo. "President Ramaphosa may be a decent man, but he is just one man," Holomisa remarked.
"There is nothing to stop the ANC from deciding to remove him just as they recalled Thabo Mbeki and replaced him with a person facing over eight hundred criminal charges," the UDM president added.
Holomisa was also speaking from personal experience: the ANC expelled him in 1996, after he testified before the Desmond Tutu-led Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Incidentally, Ramaphosa had, only just days before, been defending himself against accusations by the Congress of the People (COPE) president Mosiuoa Lekota--a former member of the ANC and former Minister of Defence--that he had betrayed his freedom struggle comrades to the apartheid regime when he was a student leader. The ultra-leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party has called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the accusations by Lekota.