The business industry in South Africa has called for introspection in the private sector in a bid to restore good corporate governance practices following the completion of the Zondo Commission, a move that could possibly restore the declining investor confidence.
Business also warned that the real work against corruption and State capture was only just beginning as genuine investor confidence can be cemented by the successful prosecution of those implicated in graft and patronage.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) chief executive Cas Coovadia said the Zondo Commission had laid bare the depth and breadth of State capture and corruption, in both the public sector and among those in the private sector that are alleged to have collaborated with public officials.
Coovadia said the final report came at a time when the country was facing a lack of economic growth, high unemployment, poverty, inequality and political uncertainty in the run-up to the ANC elective conference in December.
“We believe the report must be considered within this context, and we must look at how the lessons learnt can help our country address lascivious of growth and improving the lives of our people,” Coovadia said.
“We have previously indicated the reports of the Commission are a watershed for our country and also provides an opportunity for the private sector to introspect, learn lessons and ensure businesses operate in a sustainable and ethical manner in undertaking their businesses.”
Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, this week, handed President Cyril Ramaphosa the final instalments of his momentous report into the allegations of State capture after four and a half years.
The report found that government entities had been corrupted by a few politicians and their business associates during former president Jacob Zuma’s administration, with Zondo recommending their further investigation and prosecution.
A number of private companies which rendered services to the government were also implicated in the Commission, with some forced to pay back the monies they had earned in ill-gotten contracts.
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) chief executive Busi Mavuso said that corruption comes at a high price to business and the economy.
Mavuso reiterated that those implicated in wrongdoing must face the music for investors to have confidence in the South African criminal justice system.
“Although all the commission’s reports have now been released, this is just the beginning of the storm,” she said.
“Judge Raymond Zondo has recommended that criminal charges be filed against several people who played various roles in stealing the assets of the people of South Africa.
“Prosecuting the villains and strengthening our systems are two of the three elements we need to finally put state capture behind us and ensure it never happens again. “
The findings and recommendations of the full report, constituting five successive volumes released to the public since early January, highlight the actions of implicated parties from the private and public sectors, multiple government departments, state-owned entities, and industry sectors.
The role of whistle-blowers and the media in bringing these issues to the fore is also highlighted as a turning point in a country perceived to be at risk of sinking under the weight of corruption.
Corruption Watch executive director Karam Singh said the report must be followed by concrete processes that set in motion appropriate investigations by law enforcement agencies into the actions of the vast array of people and institutions allegedly involved in the complex network of graft and patronage.
“The huge investment of time, money and energy spent over these past years must not have been in vain, but must clear the way for criminal justice institutions to do their work in securing justice,” Singh said.