Zondo inquiry: Ramaphosa probed on donations to ANC from ’dubious’ sources
Political funding donations made to the ANC by Bosasa, the Guptas and corruption-accused individuals came under scrutiny at the Zondo Commission on Thursday.
This comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa returned to the inquiry for the second day to give testimony in his capacity as ANC leader.
Previously, the commission heard how the ruling party had received donations from facilities management company Bosasa to help fund its elections ’’war room’’.
Former ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize had also admitted that the Gupta family had donated money to the ANC for its 2012 elective conference - an allegation Ramaphosa insisted he knew nothing about.
Businessman Edwin Sodi, whose company had benefited from a dubious Free State asbestos contract, had also confirmed previously at the commission that he had made substantial donations to the ANC and some of its members.
With these facts at hand, the commission's evidence leader, advocate Paul Pretorius, questioned Ramaphosa on why the party had continued to accept donations from companies such as Bosasa who had benefited from corruption-linked to government contracts.
"How could it happen that the party continued to receive benefits financed by Bosasa?" Pretorius asked.
Ramaphosa responded: "It is a valid question. One should have been aware. I went to the centre of the election financed by Bosasa. It did not occur to me that they were bankrolling that centre on behalf of the ANC.
’’The treasurer and those who ran the elections knew. In hindsight, one would say we should have been more alert to the reports that were reported much earlier."
He added: "We would not knowingly accept money from donors involved in criminal activity. That should be regarded as a major lapse on our part."
Pretorius pushed Ramaphosa on his claim that the party would not knowingly receive money from corruption accused individuals. He maintained that people within the ANC, including former president Jacob Zuma, knew about the funding.
Pretorius further asked Ramaphosa: "The reason why there was no halting of the donations was (it) because the president (Zuma) was in control of the party?"
To which Ramphosa replied: "Yes, the president plays a key role in the party and gives direction".
Ramaphosa also conceded that there was enough information circulating in the media and the public regarding the Guptas and Bosasa which could have warranted a probe by the ANC.
"Yes, I would concede that there should have been an internal examination. I am not sure if an investigation would have been possible – being a political party I know there are limitations," Ramaphosa said.