Thursday, 11 February 2021

Cape Town: In an effort to deal with corruption, government will shortly appoint members of a National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council to oversee the initial implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

“We have started implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which lays the basis for a comprehensive and integrated society-wide response to corruption,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening, he said the advisory council, which is a multi-sectoral body, will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that reports to Parliament.

The President noted government’s progress in turning around law enforcement bodies.

“Critical leadership positions have been filled with capable, experienced and trustworthy professionals. There is improved cooperation and sharing of resources between the respective law enforcement agencies, enabling a more integrated approach to investigations and prosecutions,” he said.

The President said when reports started to surface last year about possible fraud and corruption in the procurement of COVID-related goods and services, government acted decisively to put a stop to these practices.

“We established a fusion centre, which brings together key law enforcement agencies to share information and resources.

“The Fusion Centre has brought many cases to trial and preserved or recovered millions of rands in public funds,” Ramaphosa said.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was authorised to investigate allegations of unlawful conduct with respect to COVID procurement by all state bodies during the National State of Disaster.

As reported last week, the SIU has finalised investigations into 164 contracts with a total value of R3.5 billion.

The President delivered his SONA during a hybrid Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

The event was held in a hybrid format as part of efforts to adhere to the National State of Disaster lockdown regulations – alert level 3.

No more than 50 participants were allowed inside the National Assembly Chamber. All other Members of Parliament and guests were connected through a virtual platform.