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We all want to support Ramaphosa's fight against corruption - Netherlands Ambassador

Mar 12 2019 12:53
Lameez Omarjee

Efforts by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address corruption have international support, the Netherlands Ambassador to SA Han Peters has said.

Peters spoke to Fin24 by phone on Monday, sharing his views on issues impacting foreign direct investment to the country. He was previously ambassador to Brazil, before being appointed to his current position in 2018.

Shortly after being elected president in 2018, Ramaphosa announced an ambitious plan to attract $100bn in new investment over five years to boost South Africa's lagging growth rate. In October 2018 he convened a high-profile investment conference and a jobs summit.

The president instituted three judicial commissions of inquiry to probe with maladministration and allegations of corruption at state entities; the Nugent inquiry into SARS, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, and the Mpati inquiry into state-run asset manager the Public Investment Corporation.  

'Corruption occurs everywhere'

Asked if he believed SA government was addressing corruption, Peters said it was important that Ramaphosa had said SA wants to "get rid of corruption".

"We all want to support him in that," he said. 

The ambassador said corruption occurs everywhere, including both in the Netherlands and SA. 

"Corruption is costing money – it’s costing taxpayer money. "It's also not good for the economy because it increases costs. Corruption is never a good thing."

"We ought to work to try to diminish corruption, thereby lessening the cost of doing business," he said.

Slammed

In June 2018 the embassies of UK, the US, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands wrote a joint memo to Ramaphosa warning that failure to deal decisively with those implicated in corruption could threaten foreign direct investment.

While the memo was written in 2018, it garnered media attention when the Sunday Times reported on it in February 2019. 

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation slammed the memo as being out of line with diplomatic protocol, Fin24 previously reported

In a joint statement after the news report, the five countries said the memo was an "informal discussion paper" drafted in the run-up to Ramaphosa's investment conference. 

"We have strongly supported South Africa's drive to attract foreign direct investment from the start and we will continue to do so in the future," it said at the time. 

Deputy President David Mabuza recently told the National Assembly that commissions of inquiry into state capture and corruption must be completed, and recommendations must first be made before government can take steps against those implicated in corruption.

SA Ambassador to Germany Stone Sizane has also defended SA's position on the matter. He told Fin24 last week that by running four commissions of inquiry, SA is taking action to root out corruption.

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