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Capacity, resource management critical to prosecuting State capture perpetrators


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Capacity, resource management critical to prosecuting State capture perpetrators

7th March 2022

By: Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer


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With the latest volume of the Zondo Commission report having been released, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso says it will be critical to manage the capacity and resources of South Africa’s investigating and prosecuting services.

In this regard, she notes that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been battling to overcome the serious damage done to its capacity during the State capture era and now faces managing an unprecedented number of often complicated prosecutions.


Nonetheless, Mavuso says discussions are under way on how business can appropriately support public investigation and prosecution capacity.

“The private sector has in its ranks the kinds of forensic investigators and analysts that are needed for the State to build strong cases that will lead to successful prosecutions. The challenge is how those skills can be put to work within an appropriate financial framework in which the integrity of prosecutions is sacrosanct,” she notes.


With more volumes of the Zondo Commission report being released, there are an increasing number of State capture-implicated persons.

However, Mavuso says the additional volumes do not yet conclude the Zondo process, with the final document expected to be released only at the end of April.

“Already, however, this long and expensive process has made clear how our country was systematically repurposed to divert public funds to corrupt recipients. Its institutions were infiltrated and then undermined, procurement processes twisted to serve criminals and the checks and balances of our democracy destroyed to ensure impunity,” she says.

With the final report, Mavuso says focus must turn to acting on the recommendations, though many already have been seen in the first three parts of the report.

“A lot of these concern investigations and prosecutions that need to be undertaken, presenting a huge task for the NPA,” she says.

There are also recommendations on the structure and processes of many institutions, such as that the leadership of State-owned enterprises be selected by an independent body. These, Mavuso says, will define an agenda for lawmakers and Parliament will need to develop legislation to implement recommendations.

“Many people are implicated in the report. Some have threatened to turn to the courts to challenge the report. I think this is the wrong way to go. The report recommends investigation and, where appropriate, prosecutions,” she says.

However, Mavuso says it is not a prosecutorial process in itself, with those implicated having “ample opportunity” to defend themselves in court. “Challenging the report does nothing to advance the cause of justice and adds to the significant costs already incurred by the commission,” she says.

Further, Mavuso notes that some of those implicated, including prominent businesses, are in the private sector.

“Those who did wrong must be fully held to account. Organised business was at the front of the charge against State capture and the BLSA, among others, worked tirelessly to root out corruption in both the public and private sectors.

“The process of moving forward from the State capture era must involve a full reckoning for those businesses implicated. I strongly support that outcome,” she says.

In this regard, Mavuso says goodwill is all around, and the technical modalities for such support can, she believes, be resolved between government and business.

“BLSA has long supported the criminal justice system through its division Business Against Crime, so such support is a natural alignment with our objectives. The business environment fundamentally depends on the rule of law.

“As the Zondo Commission concludes its work, I will be working alongside colleagues to ensure the next stage of our recovery can proceed effectively,” she concludes.


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