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The big story: The NPA’s heartening state capture arrests

Accountability. We talk about it all the time here at explain. It was the subject of one of our first videos, where we broke down why no one was in jail for state capture yet. The age of lawlessness under Jacob Zuma may have been over, but we pointed out that the effects of his regime were still being felt. 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was responsible for convincing a judge that someone should go to jail, but it had been hollowed out, losing the skills to do it, by the same corruption infecting the rest of the state. Give them time, we told you. You don’t want the judge to throw out a case for lack of evidence. But as we’ve repeatedly noted, even our patience wore thin. People started calling the NPA the national postponement authority. 

So the last two weeks have been healing to watch. The NPA has finally made good on its promises with a series of enrolled court cases, high profile arrests and court appearances. 

The NPA and the Hawks arrested 15 people in a single week. The blitz of arrests started on Tuesday last week, Fin24 reported. By Friday, it culminated in the biggest state capture arrests so far: former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama and former Trillian Capital Partners CEO Eric Wood.

These middle men linked to the Gupta family made a whopping R93m for “helping” to facilitate a loan to finance more than 1,000 locomotives. The cost of these locomotives increased from R38bn to R54bn, allegedly to cover kickbacks.

Wednesday also saw Gupta stalwart Ronica Ragavan and two other associates of the family in the dock on charges including fraud and money laundering in relation to the rehabilitation funds of the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines. More bigwig arrests are expected. 

It’s what we needed to see as South Africans after a decade of state capture and then three years of hearing about it in detail at the state capture commission. 

But beware: there’s still a long road ahead. As we said last week, the wheels of justice turn achingly slowly. Expect a long court process ahead. We hope the criminals – responsible for our country losing almost R250 billion by some estimates – are quaking in their boots.

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