South African deputy president supports independent probe into "state capture"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-22 05:10:23|Editor: yan
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CAPE TOWN, May 21 (Xinhua) -- South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent judicial commission to thoroughly investigate all allegations of "state capture."

"Only through such a commission will we be able to establish the extent to which the institutions of our state have been used to improperly - and illegally - enrich a few individuals and families," Ramaphosa said while giving a lecture in the platinum-mining hub of Rustenburg, North West Province.

He was referring to the Gupta saga in which the wealthy Indian Gupta family allegedly exerts undue influence on President Jacob Zuma in the appointments of cabinet ministers and CEOs of state-owned enterprises.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied the allegations.

Last year, South Africa's graft ombudsman recommended the establishment of a judicial commission into the alleged "state capture."

An independent judicial commission would help get to the bottom of these rumours, reports, and allegations, Ramaphosa said.

"We must act to stop all forms of capture, corruption, and cronyism," Ramaphosa noted.

As part of these efforts, the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill must now be actively implemented, in particular as it relates to so-called "politically exposed persons," to ensure that there is no space for illicit financial activity, said Ramaphosa.

The bill is aimed at further strengthening the transparency and integrity of the South African financial system in its objectives to combat financial crimes, which include tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illicit financial flows.

In April, Zuma signed the bill into law.

Ramaphosa also said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) must fight rampant corruption and narrow personal enrichment.

Ramaphosa warned that South Africa faces the risk of becoming a mafia state.

"If we are to counter this grave threat, if the ANC is to recover its leadership role in society, then it is absolutely imperative that we act with urgency and purpose," he said.

The ANC must ensure that South Africa does not become a mafia state "because once you reach that state, all the wheels have come off," said Ramaphosa.

The ANC, he said, must implement lifestyle audits of all those in leadership structures.

"We must introduce, as has been proposed by the ANC this week, transparency into party political funding. All of these steps must be implemented without fear or favour. They must not be guided by factional interests," Ramaphosa added.