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Law enforcement agencies can act on state capture report if they want to, says Ramaphosa

But government will only act on recommendations once the entire document has been handed over

Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo hands over part 1 of the state capture commission report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo hands over part 1 of the state capture commission report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Law enforcement agencies can start using the state capture report immediately to pounce on implicated individuals, even though the government will not officially take action until the final version is handed over.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who received part 1 of the state capture inquiry report on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa said the government would only make pronouncements on the report closer to when he would present it to parliament — by June. However, he said law enforcement agencies who felt the report helped whatever investigations they had been doing could go ahead and act on it.

"Whenever agencies — and we've got so many agencies in our country — have a sense that there are certain things that they either are looking at or investigating over a period, and the report either confirms or consolidates their thinking, they should go ahead and act as they are motivated," Ramaphosa said.

"But as for us in government, we would not really be commenting on the report until we have applied our minds on the report and we have looked at it. It is going to be a process that involves various parts of government and in the end we will then come out with an implementation plan which we will submit to parliament."

Ramaphosa said he didn't yet know what the report would say about a lot of people, including himself, and he would only know whether he was conflicted and had to recuse himself after going through it.

"My own history is that where I am conflicted I have a sense of integrity to be able to step out of the way...  I have engrained that in the way that I do things all the time, so that fingers should never be pointed at one," he said.

On making the report public, Ramaphosa said this was about "transparency" as the report belongs to all South Africans and not him as president.

He also promised action on recommendations made by the commission, adding that South Africans can't wait for the commission for so long only for its recommendations to be ignored.

But Ramaphosa told journalists that South Africans “don’t have long to wait” before the government released its plans for implementing the recommendations of the final report.

Asked whether or not the state’s “wait and see” approach was necessary given the nature of the evidence that came out during the commission’s hearings, Ramaphosa said the elements that could be acted on swiftly would be but the “broader recommendations” would be addressed when the final report was handed over.

“We don't have long to wait, by the way. We've waited for four years, and all we are now going to be asking is that we should have the patience, until June, when we will come out more fully, but precisely, how we are going to go about implementing the recommendations,” Ramaphosa said.

The president said going through the report would be an “involved process”.

“We are going to make sure that various departments in government are able to analyse the report [and] look very closely at what is recommended. And, of course, there will be areas where action could be taken particularly relating to … inefficiencies, infighting in government, lack of coordination, the silo approach to work, and all that,” he said.

“So all those processes, as they are ferreted out by the commission's report and recommendations, are matters that we will obviously be looking closely at. Those that we can act on, we will — but more broadly, on the broader recommendations, we are going to want to wait until the full three-part report is tabled before us.

"Thereafter, all that we have asked for — which the court granted, up to the end of June — so that we are then able to, in a very systematic way, respond to what the commission has found and recommended, and we will then be able to come up with a more comprehensive and full implementation plan.”

— Additional reporting by Matthew Savides


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