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The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) and 30 civil society organisations, including Corruption Watch, have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to swiftly and decisively punish those from the private and public sectors who are linked to state capture. At a rally held yesterday, 12 February, in Cape Town, the AKF and representatives from civil society called for 2020 to be the year of the orange overalls – meaning that nothing less than a jail sentence will be accepted by a public who have long been carrying a burden they never asked for.

Download the letter to President Ramaphosa.

The group reminded Ramaphosa that although “2020 heralds the start of a new decade and presents opportunities for growth and development,” it is also a “stark reminder that we have just ten years to achieve targets set out in our country’s 2030 National Development Plan”.

Achieving these goals timeously, the letter stated, will require a renewed sense of urgency in addressing the core issues which threaten our ability to realise them.

The group urged the president to fire all in his government who are implicated, saying that is unacceptable that this state of affairs is still happening. “To date, not a single individual implicated in state capture is in orange overalls serving time for the crimes that they have committed against the people of this country. The protagonists of state capture still walk around boldly.”

Implicated persons who don’t show up in court, or who do their utmost to get out of appearing before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, were singled out.

“Others continue their politicking within organisations, trying to secure alliances in a bid to remain in power and out of jail. There are those who, despite being knee-deep in allegations of corruption, shamelessly flex their political muscle to try and stall the efforts of those who are working tirelessly at reforming the state.”

The group also lambasted those MPs who, at the taxpayer’s expense, enjoy the perks of their job while questions are asked about their conduct. “Some sit in Parliament – their very presence a mockery of the institution, its processes and its honour.”

The victims of state capture are ordinary citizens whose lives are impacted by the corruption, incompetence and malpractice that are seen at all levels of government and business.

“Where is the justice for the real victims of state capture – the children who have to continue using dangerous and undignified pit latrines at school, while school infrastructure budgets have been cut; women who continue suffering because there are not enough resources to effectively deal with gender-based violence; the working poor, who have to ride unsafe passenger trains because of PRASA’s loss of billions due to state capture over the last decade?”

The letter was also addressed to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise, justice minister Ronald Lamola, police minister Bheki Cele, and Shamila Batohi, the national director of public prosecutions.