South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday received the last of a series of damning reports from a four-year investigation into state corruption during his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s presidency.
The report was handed to Ramaphosa at his Union Buildings offices in Pretoria by the head of the investigating panel and chief justice, Raymond Zondo, in a televised ceremony.
The pillaging and mismanagement of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises during Zuma’s nine years in office has been dubbed “state capture”.
“This report provides us with an opportunity to make a decisive break with the era of state capture,” said Ramaphosa.
He said the “state capture really was an assault on our democracy, it violated the rights of every man, woman and child in this country”.
The state graft investigation was triggered by a 2016 report by the country’s corruption ombudswoman, Thuli Madonsela who at the time had recommended the probe be finalised within six months.
But as more information was unearthed, the legal inquiries were prolonged to four years of collecting testimonies.
In all, it took more than 400 days of collecting evidence from some 300 witnesses including Ramaphosa.
More than 1,430 individuals and institutions, including Zuma, were implicated.
Ramaphosa now has four months to act on the panel’s recommendations.
The first volume of the report was published in January, and now the complete document runs to more than 5,600 pages.
One of the prior reports released in April described Zuma as a “critical player” in the high-level plunder of state-owned enterprises that dogged his nine-year tenure, which ended unceremoniously in 2018 when he was forced to resign.
Zuma was last year slapped with a 15-month jail term for refusing to testify before the investigators.
He was granted parole just two months into his incarceration, but not before his jailing sparked riots last July that left more than 350 people dead.
The investigations revealed how Zuma’s friends, the wealthy Indian-born Gupta brothers became enmeshed at the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress, including influencing ministerial appointments under Zuma.
Two of the three Gupta tycoons were arrested in Dubai earlier this month and faced extradition to South Africa to face trial.