President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed that “dirty tricks and intimidation” will not deter his administration from fighting corruption.
Presenting the Presidency’s Budget Vote speech in Parliament on Thursday (9 June), Ramaphosa cited the recent threat against Director-General in the Presidency Phindile Baleni.
Baleni received a letter in her residence’s mailbox conveying threats to her life if she does not convince the President to take certain decisions. One of the ultimatums was that Ramaphosa must not to implement recommendations from the state capture commission of inquiry.
In his speech, Ramaphosa vowed that the Presidency will submit to Parliament an implementation plan on the inquiry’s recommendations.
“In recent days we have seen those who stand to lose the most from the fight against corruption resorting to dirty tricks and intimidation in a bid to get us to back down,” he added.
“The serious threat levelled against the Director-General in The Presidency is deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest terms. It is a sign of the lengths to which these criminals will go. But we will not be deterred by threats of any kind. They will pay for their actions. We will restore the values of integrity and credibility to our government. We will take back our country from criminals.”
The President did not directly address allegations by former State Security Agency Director-General Arthur Fraser that, among others, he concealed the theft of around $4 million from his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo.
However, he said the fight against corruption is continuing and “the net is closing in on those who for years grew fat off the money and resources meant for the benefit of the South African people.”
“It is they who fear the renewal agenda most. And they will do anything to divert the focus off themselves. But we will not waver. We will not blink. We will finish what has been started. And as we do so, we will not be side-tracked from our one objective – to improve the lives of the people of South Africa,” he added.
He has previously denied the allegations, insisting that they have no basis. He also denied speculation that he had “stolen taxpayer’s money,” saying the stolen money was proceeds from the sale of game and was “far less” than the reported $4 million.
However, this did not stop some opposition parties in Parliament, led by the EFF, from delaying his speech for more than an hour through constant points of order.
DA leader John Steenhuisen also urged Ramaphosa to come clean about what exactly happened at his farm and not “hide behind the smokescreen of investigations.”