Chief Justice Zondo reveals how money lost to corruption could have benefitted the poor | News24


Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

  • Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says the millions lost to state capture could have benefitted the poor.
  • He was addressing an anti-corruption summit on Friday.
  • He lamented the collapse of state-owned companies, including Denel, Prasa and Transnet.

Money lost to corruption could have benefitted the poor through the provision of infrastructure and job creation, says Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Speaking at an anti-corruption summit on Friday, Zondo lamented the impact of state capture and the collapse of state-owned companies like Prasa, SAA and Denel. 

He said it cost SA millions and severely deprived the poor of dignified livelihoods. 

Prasa’s mismanagement, payments to ghost employees, and failure to probe corruption allegations were some of the factors that led to its collapse, he said. 

“Prasa is a very important state entity that was established to provide essential transport to the people of SA, particularly poor people. But Prasa has not been able to provide a safe and reliable transport service to poor people in our country, and corruption, maladministration and incompetence have a lot to do with that inability,” he said.

Zondo said the Hawks and the parliamentary portfolio committee on transport failed to probe and prevent the rot at the rail agency, despite board members opening criminal cases. 

READ | SA has ‘rebuilt the supporting architecture’ to fight corruption – Ramaphosa

“The board at Prasa, concerned with corruption, took files to the Hawks, laid criminal complaints, and asked the Hawks to investigate corruption that happened in 2015/16. To date, the Hawks have not finished their investigation,” Zondo said. 

Corruption at SAA, Zondo said, could have been prevented had the government acted sooner to avoid the raging corruption at the airline.

“We know how corruption at SAA has affected the people of South Africa. What happened at SAA is not something that happened overnight. It happened over a long period.

“It’s like the people who were supposed to keep an eye on whether SAA was working were either asleep or onto some other project and were not bothered by its decline, year after year,” Zondo said. 

He said the poor, who rely on public facilities, was the most affected by the lingering effects of corruption.  

Zondo said:

Money lost to corruption is money that could have been used to build schools, clinics, hospitals, roads, bridges and, generally, to ensure development in our communities. Money stolen through corruption is money that could have been used to pay reasonable salaries for nurses, doctors and others in public service.

Zondo commended whistleblowers who resisted state capture. He called for their protection to ensure that SA recovers from state capture. 

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