Ramaphosa puts foot down on politicians doing business with govt

Ramaphosa said the action the government has taken to clamp down on COVID-related corruption will strengthen the broader fight against crime.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a joint sitting of Parliament on 15 October 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday put his foot down on politicians doing business with the government, adding that he would make sure there was no political interference in the work that law enforcement agencies are doing.

Ramaphosa said the action the government has taken to clamp down on COVID-related corruption will strengthen the broader fight against crime.

Ramaphosa pledged firm action against criminals who occupy construction sites and then tried to extort protection money from businesses. He said rapid response teams at national and provincial levels will step in.

“This will come to an end – it is impeding economic growth.”

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The fight against graft would go further: “We are working to clamp down on the illegal economy and illicit financial flows, including transfer pricing abuse, profit shifting, VAT and customs duty fraud, under-invoicing of manufactured imports, corruption and other illegal schemes.”

He added there would be new rules to make sure political office bearers didn’t do business with the government and he said law enforcement agencies must be able to do their work without meddling by politicians.

“There will be no political interference with the work of our law enforcement agencies because it is only when there is no political interference that we are able to observe the rule of law and strengthen all our agencies in the criminal justice system.”

SOME NUGGETS TO BE TAKEN FROM GOVT SOES UNDER FIRE

Meanwhile, a number of economists on Thursday said there were some nuggets to be taken from the president.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been under fire for some time.

However, the possible listing of SOEs has been mentioned by the president as a way forward.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange limited chief executive Leila Fourie said: “In developed markets, we’ve seen successful listings, for example in Australia and some Nordic countries and in developing countries, we’ve seen particularly the east of China, Singapore and Malaysia successful SOE listings.”

FNB Wealth and Investment’s Chantal Marx agreed: “I think the classic example it would follow would be Telkom whereby government retained a 40% shareholding, but the rest is floating on the JSE and allowing the market to do its thing.’

And while parastatals look set to get a possible boost, tourism will also get some help.

Chief executive at SA Tourism Sisa Ntshona was happy that an expanded list of countries from which people can travel will be published soon

“Certainly from a tourism perspective, we are encouraged to hear that the list of countries that were previously not allowed to come to South Africa were now going to be reviewed in time for the summer season that is upon us. The e-visa rollout is spreading as well.”

However, chief executive at Pan African Investments and Research, Iraj Abedian said timelines were necessary when rolling out all these plans: “We are very short on timelines.”

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