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South Africa's President Vows to Combat Corruption, Revive Economy

FILE - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa takes the national salute on his arrival at the City Hall in Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 10, 2022 to deliver his State of The Nation Address.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to bring those named by the Commission of Inquiry's graft probe to justice.

In his State of the Nation Address, he promised that "Many individuals and companies that the Commission has found were responsible for state capture [looting public funds]must now be held accountable. I have all the confidence that the National Prosecuting Authority will bring the members of the criminal network that infiltrated government and captured the state swiftly into justice,”

The commission that investigated the so-called "state capture" produced two reports, detailing how government officials, executives, and former President Jacob Zuma colluded to embezzle millions of dollars from state-owned enterprises.

Ramaphosa said criminal networks infiltrated companies such as electricity provider Eskom and the national airline with the sole aim of stealing public funds. This, he said, weakened the state’s ability to deliver services.

Natasha Mazzone from the Democratic Alliance party has questioned Ramaphosa’s reform calls. “Has anyone been arrested despite the fact that there is indisputable evidence? How is it possible that people like Brain Molefe, Mashele Koko and Malusi Gigaba are walking the streets?” she said.

Ramaphosa's policy address also gave his government 100 days to come up with a comprehensive plan to grow the economy, create jobs and combat hunger.

While some political commentators and others have praised the speech’s content and tone, others such as Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema criticized Ramaphosa’s speech, saying the president is contradicting himself.

“He passed a motion of no confidence on himself. After promising so many millions of jobs, now he says government cannot provide jobs and that jobs can be provided by the private sector,” he added.