Although it seemed the wheels of justice were turning at a snail’s pace since state capture came to light, the recent increase in prosecutions, which include former acting Eskom chief executive Matshela Koko’s arrest, have brought more hope in the fight against corruption, experts say.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) – which has been at the forefront calling for the prosecution of those involved in the state capture – celebrated yet another win after Koko, and eight others, appeared in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga for corruption, money laundering and other charges relating to Eskom.
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Koko, along with his wife, Mosima Koko, stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, former SA Local Government Association chief executive Thabo Mokoena and former Eskom executive Frans Sithole, were all granted bail yesterday.
In the hands of NPA
“We have seen several state capture related cases in court in the past few months and South Africans should be encouraged by that,” Outa’s portfolio manager for state capture Rudie Heyneke said.
“It is now in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority, which must ensure that we see speedy trials and positive outcomes.”
Heyneke said Outa welcomed the “promise of more funds for opposing state capture in [Wednesday’s] medium-term budget policy statement”.
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“This includes the department of justice and constitutional development reprioritising funds to the Financial Intelligence Centre to implement the recommendations from the state capture commission and the Financial Action Task Force.
“And funding for the NPA to increase capacity in specialised tax units and the Investigating Directorate, and to fund specialist services in the NPA.”
Heyneke said additional funding “will help the NPA acquire top legal minds and forensic experts to assist in these corruption cases”.
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Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Karam Singh, executive director of Corruption Watch, said although the wheels of justice turned slowly since the state capture scandal came to light, it would take even longer to see actual prosecutions.
READ MORE: Ex-Eskom CEO Matshela Koko arrested for alleged corruption
“I would need to wait a little bit longer. I think it’s significant that the arrests have taken place but they’ve also taken place in a context where it’s not completely clear to us, and the NPA [haven’t] brought us into their confidence in terms of their capacity and ability to run multiple cases at the same time,” he said.
“We wish the NPA the best in terms of their ability to pursue these cases but until there are actual successful prosecutions and multiple prosecutions within a reasonable amount of time, I think we need to be more careful in saying we’ve turned a page on state capture.”
Koko accusations ‘vague’
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said although Koko’s arrest was huge and an interesting development in the case, it was not really promising because the accusations he was facing were vague and some even very blatant.
He noted that this was just politics at play and questioned why several top officials, including Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa, were not charged as per the recommendations in the Zondo report.
Meanwhile, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, in a second ruling by the High Court in Pretoria in July, was ordered to pay back the “patently unlawful” R9.9 million, plus interest, to a pension fund.