President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would appear before the state capture commission of inquiry with “a great deal of pleasure” if he was called to do so.
He was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces yesterday when DA MP Cathy Labuschagne said to him: “It is impossible that you didn’t know about the extent of state capture, especially as the DA was bringing it to your attention every time you, as deputy president appeared before Parliament.”
She said President Ramaphosa was in charge of state-owned enterprises while state capture flourished, and he did nothing to stop it.
She asked if he would appear before the commission if he was called.
President Ramaphosa responded that state capture was a matter that affected every South African and that some of the things that came out of the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, surprised and shocked everybody.
“As far as I’m concerned, if the Zondo commission asks me to appear before it, I have no difficulty, I have no opposition. I will go with a great deal of pleasure if the Zondo commission says: ‘President, come and appear,’ because it is important that the people of South Africa get to know exactly what was happening in the state.
“To the extent that any of us has a story to tell, has something to put forward to the Zondo commission, we should never hide. We should go forward.”
President Ramaphosa claimed it was the ANC that asked that a commission be set up.
The commission is the result of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, State of Capture, which was released in November 2016. Madonsela’s remedial actions included that former president Jacob Zuma appoint a commission into state capture, whose head had to be appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng.
Zuma unsuccessfully challenged this in court, and in January this year, on the eve of a crucial meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee – which was expected to discuss his recall – Zuma announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry with Zondo as its head, following Mogoeng’s recommendation, saying that “the matter cannot wait any longer”.
Since the commission started its work, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen has campaigned for Ramaphosa be called to appear before it. The Herald.