Ramaphosa tells Zondo commission state capture issue divided governing party
Johannesburg – ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday that although the phenomena of state capture is now widely known, the issue of whether it was real took time to be accepted and processed by the governing party.
He gave an opening address ahead of his testimony.
While he is appearing at the Commission in his capacity as ANC leader, next month when he returns he will testifying about his role as deputy president and president of the country.
Kicking off his opening remarks, Ramaphosa said the earliest instance when the party took wind of the state capture phenomena was in 2011 during an ANC NEC meeting. This is where Fikile Mbalula brought to light that he was told by the Guptas that he would be appointed as a minister.
The president said, at that time, the issue of whether state capture existed and what it should be termed, was widely contested within the ANC and in broader society.
READ PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA’S OPENING STATEMENT HERE
Ramaphosa further added that as other allegations involving the Gupta family surfaced about their involvement in the appointment of government officials, the discussion around state capture dominated ANC NEC meetings.
"The issue of state capture was hugely contested in the ANC and what should be done contributed to divisions in ANC structures including the NEC, government and parliament and other areas of society," he said.
He said the corruption issue plagued the party resulting in divisions of vote-buying, gatekeeping and open conflict between factions of the party. And concerns about corruption grew ahead of the party's 54 ANC conference in December 2017.
Ramaphosa has cited that conference as a "watershed" where the organisation diagnosed its issues on corruption and members being the drivers of corruption.
He maintained that it was at that conference, where he was elected, that the party was presented with a draft diagnostic of corruption.
In an attempt to address the question of what did the ANC do, Ramaphosa cited efforts made by opposition parties in Parliament to push for investigations into state capture.
Other areas he cited as action included ANC members being subject to disciplinary committees for corruption allegations and possible suspension of implicated members and that if members have been found guilty of corruption in court, then they would be required to leave their positions.
Ramaphosa also addressed the issue of the controversial step-aside resolution, which seeks to suspend ANC members who are facing corruption charges. Ramaphosa said this resolution now has "broad" support in the organisation
“The ANC is in a process of renewal,” Ramaphosa told the commission.
He also assured the commission of the ANC's commitment to the commission and supporting its work.
The inquiry continues.