Ramaphosa to explain ‘willing to fall on the sword’ rather than reveal names of those who abused public funds recording
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DURBAN - PARLIAMENT is expected to summon President Cyril Ramaphosa over a leaked voice recording that was published with the president saying he would rather fall on his sword than reveal the names of those who had abused state resources and stolen public funds.
In the leaked recording of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where Ramaphosa appeared to be replying to members of the NEC, in relation to allegations levelled against him about vote-buying during the CR17 campaign, Ramaphosa confessed that he would rather tell the public he had received money from some business people than let the public hear that public money was used to advance certain campaigns.
This revelation caused a public uproar, to such an extent that some leaders in the ANC demanded that the head of state be held accountable.
Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) Mkhuleko Hlengwa confirmed to the Daily News that he had received a request from the committee’s ANC chief whip in Scopa, Mervyn Dirks, who asked the committee to investigate Ramaphosa.
Hlengwa said the matter was being treated as a priority, owing to the seriousness of the allegations contained in the letter.
“The matter is receiving attention and the correspondence sent to me, requesting that President Ramaphosa be called before the committee, will be tabled to the committee for its consideration once Parliament resumes later this month,” Hlengwa said.
With the Parliament building having been seriously damaged in a fire recently, Hlengwa indicated that the matter would be held virtually.
Dirks told the publication that he had written to Scopa requesting that Ramaphosa be given a chance to appear before the committee, where he could take the public into his confidence and explain his statement.
“That audio is damning and it renders his own project, the “New Dawn”, to tatters. We must ensure that he goes on a public platform and tells the country what he plans to do about the recording,” Dirks explained.
In a letter addressed to Scopa and seen by the Daily News, Dirks decried the fact that the president had appeared before the State Capture Commission chaired by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, but never disclosed the information about his cadres who stole public funds and abused state resources.
“He was under oath and withheld this damning information of state capture. Does this amount to perjury? The admission by the president of his knowledge of corruption and his refusal to divulge it will definitely make the final State Capture report questionable and render it not worth the paper it is written on,” Dirks said.
“Honourable chairperson, in light of the above it is imperative that Scopa takes the courage to summon the president to appear before it, to account for what he knows about the misuse of public funds for party political activities.
“As Scopa we must have the courage of our conviction to protect the public purse and hold those who abuse public funds accountable, and demand consequence management,” wrote Dirks.
Approached for comment, spokesperson for Ramaphosa, Tyrone Seale, said that the Presidency would not comment on the matter.
Previously, when the Daily News approached Ramaphosa and asked whether he was not complicit in the covering up of crime by declaring he was “willing to fall on the sword” and protecting those who stole public funds from the State Security Agency, and by not revealing names or reporting the alleged crimes, Seale said fighting crime was one of Ramaphosa’s priorities.
“One of the key priorities of the sixth administration, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is the fight against corruption in the public and private sectors, and the building of a capable and ethical state, which includes reinforcing the capacity of state institutions to prevent, disrupt and prosecute corruption where it may rear its head,” Seale said.
While explaining himself to the NEC, Ramaphosa was also heard in a recording stating that the party’s integrity committee had refused to probe or listen to how Ramaphosa’s CR17 was funded.
“I had written a full description of the incident; nevertheless, the integrity committee stated that they were not concerned with the past, but with how election campaign money should be controlled in the future,” explained Ramaphosa in a recording.