On Thursday 20 June President Cyril Ramaphosa promised plans to ensure that public funds looted through corruption are recovered and used for the greater good of providing services and basic infrastructure in poor communities. Speaking at the first State of the Nation address (Sona) after the May elections – the second Sona of the year – Ramaphosa said there would be no place for corruption in his government.

“We want a corps of skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards and dedicated to the public good… we are committed to building an ethical state in which there is no place for corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money,” he said.

He promised to strengthen agencies like the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Special Investigative Unit (SIU), South African Revenue Service and State Security, several of which were compromised during state capture, adding that while measures put in place to strengthen these agencies are producing results there is still much work to do. The president also said he has asked the national director of public prosecutions to come up with a plan to increase the capacity and efficiency of the NPA and their plans to effectively seize assets of corruption proceeds.

“We expect that the new SIU special tribunal will start its work within the next few months to fast track civil claims arising from SIU investigations which are currently estimated to be around R14.7-billon… we will build on the work we have already begun to address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability,” added Ramaphosa.

The president earlier this year established the SIU special tribunal to speed up the process of recovering state funds lost to corruption and irregular spending. This recovery process will include seizure of assets acquired through corruption. Earlier this year Ramaphosa promised to establish a new anti-corruption agency within the NPA to strictly deal with corruption and related crimes but made no mention of its progress – from the NPA, though, the country has learned that the unit is well on the road to operational status.

Read the full speech.

Image from Flickr/GovernmentZA.