Thursday, 29 April 2021 19:09

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Raymond Zondo, has praised President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC, for availing himself to the inquiry.

Speaking after Ramaphosa’s closing statement, Zondo said as far as he could remember, no sitting president had ever appeared before a commission of inquiry.

He expressed admiration for the fact that the ruling party, through Ramaphosa, was supporting the commission and that they had come to the proceedings voluntarily.

Ramaphosa appeared at the commission on Wednesday and Thursday, in his capacity as president of the ANC. He is due to appear next month in his capacity as former deputy president and current president of the country.

Top officials of the party have been in attendance throughout Ramaphosa’s testimony, such as ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, and former justice minister Jeff Radebe.

"They knew that some of the things to come out of the commission would not be easy to deal with but nevertheless concluded that it was a process that they should support, "Zondo said.

"It’s something that suggests that the ruling party wants to account to the nation through this commission."

Here are five key takeouts from his testimony:

ANC internal divisions began in 1994

Ramaphosa said the ruling party should have done more and acted sooner to prevent internal divisions and abuse of power that later manifested into state capture.

"State capture took place under our watch as the governing party. It involved some members and leaders of our organisation and it found fertile ground in the divisions, weaknesses and tendencies that have developed in our organisation since 1994."

The ANC wasn't immediately aware of state capture

Ramaphosa said he was not aware of any external forces that influenced the appointments of some individuals as heads of SOEs mainly because they were not processed by the ANC deployment committee. 

He also said he didn't realise there was ongoing state capture until much later. 

"Some of those appointments would have happened in that course of time and one, with hindsight, then became aware that there was a common thread, and if you joined the dots you would find that there was something amiss that was happening.

Receiving funding from Bosasa 

The president said the ANC should have known about corruption allegations against Bosasa. It should have distanced itself from the company and halted any funding from Bosasa.

He said the Political Funding Act will help ensure parties are not associated with corruption-accused entities or individuals.

"The ANC should’ve been aware that there are always problems in relation to this company, obtaining contracts unlawfully, unfairly and all that."

No protection for corrupt individuals

Ramaphosa said officials implicated in wrongdoing would not receive any protection from the ruling party.

Cadre deployment 

Ramaphosa said the party doesn't always consult with its members before it deploys them to certain positions. 

While conceding that, at times, people had been appointed to positions for which they were not qualified, Ramaphosa said that the political deployment of party members into the civil service was practised widely by many governments in the world for good reason. Deployment was not inconsistent with public servants carrying out their duties in a fair, balanced and non-partisan manner, he said.

"It should be noted that the deployment of cadres to strategic positions is not unique to the ANC. It is practised in various forms and through various mechanisms — even if not always acknowledged as such — by other political parties in SA and in other countries."

In our view, cadre deployment has acquired such prominence in part because of the perspective that there should be no political interference in the selection of people who work in the public sector. However, international practice suggests a more nuanced approach to this matter," he said.