‘Zupta’ corruption in South Africa: Zondo commission submits final Zuma-era graft report

The much awaited and, after several delays, the final instalment of the State Capture report has been finally handed over by Chief Justice Raymomd Zondo to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday. The final report consists of two volumes. It covers the State Security Agency, the SABC, the ANC, Parliament, the Vrede Dairy Project, the landing of the Gupta plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base, and more. The last chapter covers the recommendations of the Zondo commission.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption, and Fraud in the Public Sector, including Organs of State, better known as the Zondo Commission or State Capture Commission, was established in January 2018 by former President Jacob Zuma to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption, and fraud in the public sector in South Africa.

Watch: Gupta brothers arrested in Dubai on corruption charges, confirms South Africa

“This day has arrived. It has been four-and-a-half years since the commission was established and it has been about three-and-a-half years since the hearing of oral evidence. There was a time when I wasn’t sure when this day would come. I am very glad it has come,” Zondo said, who chaired the commission.

President Ramaphosa said the state capture was an assault on the country’s democracy and violated the rights of every man, woman, and child in the country.

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“Through the various reports released by the Commission, we have come to understand what happened, who was involved, and what effect state capture has had on our state, our economy, and our society,” Ramaphosa said.

The State of Capture report has presented evidence of the abuse of power and of how public institutions were repurposed to enable corrupt activities to take place.

“The report is far more than a record of widespread corruption, fraud, and abuse; it is also an instrument through which the country can work to ensure that such events are never allowed to happen again,” the President said.

At the heart of the commission’s investigations over the past four years has been former President Jacob Zuma and his close friends and infamous businessmen, the Gupta brothers, who are alleged to have amassed a major fortune during Zuma’s administration.

The work of the Commission was vast, but the country has already seen small results. Former President Jacob Zuma was sent to prison last year in July after failing to meet the court’s directive that he should testify at the commission.

After testifying once, Zuma refused to go back again to the commission to testify, saying that Zondo was biassed and that until and unless Zondo was removed, he would not testify.

Since then, Zuma has been released on parole, but his release is still being debated.

In early June, the police in Dubai announced that they had arrested two of the Gupta brothers, Atul and Rajesh, who had fled there around the time the inquiry began in 2018. South Africa and the UAE government are still discussing the extradition process so that the brothers can have their day in court in South Africa.

The submission of the final report brings to an end the work of the Commission and marks the fulfilment of the weighty mandate given to the Commission. Now the ball is in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s court.

“Within four months from this date, I will formally present to Parliament the full report of the Commission together with an indication of my intentions on the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations,” Ramaphosa said.
 

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