Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Ian Landsberg/ANA

Parliament - I serve at the pleasure of the President, and If I'm fired, it will be at the pleasure of the President, South Africa's deputy president said on Thursday.

Cyril Ramaphosa was asked by opposition party members in the National Assembly to confirm or deny speculation that he was next in line to be axed by President Jacob Zuma.

"When I was appointed deputy president, I accepted the appointment because it's the president's prerogative to appoint anybody to the executive and if a decision is to remove me, I will accept it...and I will continue serving the people of South Africa in one form or another," Ramaphosa told MPS. 

The question to Ramaphosa came a week after Zuma chopped one of his most fierce critics, South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande from his cabinet.

Earlier this year, Ramaphosa came out publicly against Zuma regarding the firing of Pravin Gordhan, the country's respected former finance minister.

Gordhan was, and remains, outspoken about the looting at state-owned enterprises, something Ramaphosa too was grilled on.

Also read: KPMG report was 'grossly unfair' to Gordhan: Ramaphosa

The deputy president said the scale and depth of corruption at South Africa's state-owned companies like Eskom, Prasa and Transnet, which are central to economic growth in the country, was only now coming to light.

MPs were not buying it, insisting his silence on corruption had worsened the problem.

"We have a president who the ANC elected with 783 charges of corruption over his head. You were silent then....The law enforcement agencies have been captured, you were silent. Your silence has aided and abetted the prevalence of corruption in the country...Why should we believe you now when all along you have run away from realities presented before you?", asked Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

Ramphosa even faced a tough question from within the African National Congress ranks with Zukiswa Rantho, who chairs an inquiry into corrupt activities at Eskom, asking why state capture was only being probed now given that a witness told the inquiry state capture should have come under investigation several years ago.

"These incidents of corruption are only now spewing out in the manner that all of us have become aware of them and to this end...the various parliamentary committees have now been set up to go through all these," he answered.

"The admission that will be made is yes that as news coming out about what is happening in various state-owned enterprises, we have delayed and taken too long to act against those involved."