Sun­light can be a slow dis­in­fec­tant

The Africa Report - - QUARTER -

Those calling for Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s gov­ern­ment to quickly snuff out the cor­rup­tion of the Jacob Zuma era will have to be patient. The Zondo Com­mis­sion – the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into ‘state cap­ture’ – has un­til March 2020 to pro­duce its find­ings about the rot that de­vel­oped un­der the pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent. But deputy chief jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo and his team plan to gather all of their ev­i­dence and wrap up hear­ings by Au­gust 2019 in or­der take the rest of the time to write up their find­ings.

The in­flu­ence of the pow­er­ful Gupta fam­ily of busi­ness­men and their ties to the Zuma gov­ern­ment were the im­pe­tus for es­tab­lish­ing the com­mis­sion, which has dug into cor­rupt deals at paras­tatals like lo­gis­tics firm Transnet and elec­tric­ity com­pany Eskom. The Gup­tas’ role in Zuma’s net­works was pub­lic knowl­edge at the time, and the Zondo Com­mis­sion has pro­vided vivid de­tail about cor­rupt deal­ings. In Jan­uary, for­mer Bosasa chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer An­gelo Agrizzi pro­vided colour­ful tes­ti­mony and video of stacks of rand pre­pared to pay gov­ern­ment bribes in re­turn for state con­tracts.

Turnout at the 9 May elec­tions was low and the gov­ern­ing African National Congress took less than 60%, due, in part, to the in­flu­ence of cor­rup­tion un­der Zuma and in­fight­ing be­tween the Zuma and Ramaphosa wings of the party. Al­though Ramaphosa did not get the house-clear­ing man­date he wanted, he is com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing a “new dawn” for South Africa, and that will mean bring­ing those ac­cused of wrong­do­ing to trial and turn­ing around ail­ing state-owned en­ter­prises.

Many South Africans have been trans­fixed by the Zondo pro­ceed­ings and will be wait­ing to see if there are any more block­buster rev­e­la­tions when the pub­lic hear­ings wrap up in a few months.

Chief jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo will wrap up his hear­ings in Au­gust

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