NATIONAL NEWS - There will be no political interference whatsoever in the work of law enforcement investigating corruption and fraud, while there will also be a push to stop political office-bearers at all spheres of government from doing business with the state, The Citizen reports.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made this commitment during his announcement of the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan on Thursday afternoon.
The ambitious plan hopes to revive the country’s all-but-dead economy, by creating more than 800 000 immediate jobs, while ensuring increased electricity supply and increasing competitivity in the export market.
Key to this, however, will be ensuring decisive action against those who have enriched themselves at the expense of the state and taxpayers, prompting Ramaphosa to promise several interventions against criminality and graft.
“Decisive action against crime and corruption is essential to inclusive growth,” the president said.
He said the significant progress has been made in the Special Investigating Unit’s probes into allegations of criminality during the state of disaster, and the disbursement of emergency funds, and promised that the outcomes of the investigations would be made public “once all the due process have been completed”.
He said the country’s law enforcement agencies are being strengthened, to allow for swifter identification and prosecution of corruption and fraud.
“We wish to assure all South African that there will be no political interference with the work of law enforcement agencies,” he said, prompting a comment from the gallery that this would lead to plenty of vacancies in government.
He also promised that policies will be implemented to ensure that “political office-bearers at all spheres of government do not do business with the state” and welcomed a Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour Council) agreement that social partners will similarly act against corruption in their ranks.
He promised the fast-tracking of the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy, “which will improve transparency, monitoring and accountability in government and across society”.
“Through these actions, we will ensure that every Rand of public expenditure is spent productively to benefit our people and support our recovery effort,” he said.
He announced a Joint Rapid Response Team, set up to combat illegal occupation of construction sites across the country, and plans to enact a turnaround at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
“Sars is rebuilding its capacity to reverse the decline, improve compliance and recover lost tax revenue,” he said.
“We are working to clamp down on the illegal economy and illicit financial flows, including
transfer pricing abuse, profit shifting, VAT and customs duty fraud, under-invoicing of manufactured imports, corruption and other illegal schemes.”