/ 30 September 2022

Ramaphosa hints that plan to implement Zondo report may be delayed

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo/Ruvan Boshoff, Reuters

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday raised the spectre that the government may announce its plan to implement the recommendations of the State Capture Commission after the deadline of October 15 but said the political will was there to deliver it on time.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly, Ramaphosa noted that the commission’s report was delivered by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo with a delay and that the commission had also filed errata.

The final chapters of the report were handed over seven days late, on 23 June, and the delay was condoned by the high court.

Ramaphosa suggested that this may have some impact on when the timeframe of four months imposed on the state to announce its response would lapse.

“We are looking to see how it touches on our own implementation deadlines… [but] the implementation plan is being finalised. The political will is there. When we bring the implementation plan to parliament that is when the will of the government will become clear that indeed we are serious and we have the will to do so.”

He stressed that formulating a policy response meant engaging with some 385 recommendations put forth by Zondo in the six-volume report on state capture.

“Will we be able to meet the deadline of October 15? The desire is that we should.”

The president was replying to a question from Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa as to  whether he was prepared to give a ballpark figure on what it would cost to act on Zondo’s recommendations to combat and prosecute grand corruption, as well as a commitment that the  executive would move at speed to do so.

“The financial aspect of implementing the plan cannot be left to parliament, we as the executive have to craft it. Inherent in putting forward an implementation plan… it will result in expenditure,” he replied.

Ramaphosa said he would discuss with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana whether the medium-term budget policy statement could make provision for funding for implementation measures.

The MTBPS will be delivered by Godongwana on 26 October.

“The extent to which it will form part of that is something that the minister of finance and I are going to be meeting and discussing because that has to be presented to cabinet first and thereafter to parliament.”

Zondo made findings against key allies of Ramaphosa, including Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, and said the state’s prosecuting capacity would have to be strengthened dramatically to bring before court all those implicated in his report.

He also found that the ANC’s cadre deployment policy ran counter to the values the Constitution imposed on public administration.