As South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa conceded the ruling party was “deeply implicated in corruption” and promised to dismantle it, analysts said those accused of corruption must be jailed in order to restore citizen’s confidence in the state.
“The reality is until we see some real big shots being arrested for corruption, I don’t believe people believe in government anymore, people take actions seriously, not words,” senior economist at Efficient group Dawie Roodt told Xinhua on Monday.
Roodt’s remarks follow Ramaphosa’s Sunday letter to ANC members where he reminded them of how angered South Africans were about allegations of the current widespread corruption.
“While the current allegations about corruption in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic have brought this issue sharply to the fore, the reality is that corruption in this country has far deeper roots,” Ramaphosa wrote in the letter.
He agreed the problem was one of the biggest the country was faced with, saying “corruption stands as one of the greatest challenges facing our society.”
In July, Ramaphosa authorised the Special Investigative Unit to probe allegations of corruption relating to the procurement of personal protective equipment by government departments. Some senior government officials have taken special leave while the investigations are underway.
Roodt said these allegations were embarrassing which is why the president had to take actions.
“This is a looting frenzy that we witnessed and there is nothing that we can do about it, it’s been going on for a very long time.”
With South Africa planning to rebuild its economy and attract foreign investment, Roodt said widespread corruption would hamper Ramaphosa’s efforts of revitalizing the economy.
“It affects it massively, corruption is having a massive impact on this country,” he added.
While investigations are ongoing, some said speaking out against corruption was what the president could do.
“It’s the minimum the president could do to take action in the midst of COVID-19 corruption taking place.
He must be seen to be acting more, with people implicated in corruption going to jail,” Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand told Xinhua.