Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday sought the help of traditional leaders in the fight against “extensive corruption,” saying they must be an essential part of this effort.

“Not only must traditional authorities themselves be above reproach, but they have an important role to play in ensuring that local government structures in particular are free from corruption and patronage,” Ramaphosa said at the annual opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town.

South Africans have heard of extensive networks of corruption that have diminished public institutions and stolen funds meant for the development of the country, funds destined for the poor and vulnerable, said Ramaphosa.

He was speaking as an inquiry into alleged state capture went deeper and deeper, exposing widespread corruption involving former president Jacob Zuma and a number of senior government officials who collaborated with the wealthy Indian Gupta family in looting from the state coffers.

Ramaphosa has been criticized for not doing enough to curb corruption. His latest remarks were seen as an indication that he is determined to bring corrupt official to book.

“Our priority must be to uncover all of these networks and expose their activities, bring those responsible to book, recover all stolen funds and take decisive measures to ensure this never happens again,” the president said.

He stressed the need to strengthen democratic institutions, establish suitable checks and balances, and increase transparency and accountability throughout society.

“As we step up the fight against corruption, as we restore the integrity of our institutions, it is essential that we restore the moral fabric of our society.

“We look to traditional leaders to be at the forefront of the effort to inculcate a sense of moral responsibility, cohesion and accountability across society,” Ramaphosa said.

They should work to ensure that all leaders and people in positions of authority are held to the highest standards of integrity, he added.

South Africa has national and provincial houses of traditional leaders which enhance the cooperative relationships within national and provincial governments.

The central government acknowledges the critical role of traditional leadership institutions in South Africa’s constitutional democracy and in communities, particularly in relation to the rural-development strategy. Enditem

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