Cyril Ramaphosa’s moment of truth

Johannesburg- On the face of it, the release of the report of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture could be a blessing or curse for President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector report is expected to boost Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term when the ANC goes to its elective conference in December, however, his implicated comrades won’t go down without a fight.

The first part of the report, released this week to Ramaphosa by the commission’s chairperson, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, placed former president Jacob Zuma and his allies at the centre of state capture.

Zondo found that Zuma had aided former SARS commissioner Tom Moyane in the capture of the crucial institution, crippling its ability to collect much-needed revenue while former president’s ally, Dudu Myeni’s tenure as SAA chairperson enabled corruption.

The commission also found that Mzwanele Manyi, who is now the spokesperson of the Zuma Foundation, enabled state capture during his tenure as the CEO of the Government Communications Information System.

Former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba – another Zuma ally – was also in Zondo’s firing line, with the jurist saying he was prepared to do wrong for the Guptas or Zuma. It would appear that the Zondo report will lead to the prosecution of many ANC leaders aligned with Zuma and dismantle the so-called Radical Economic Transformation Forces (RET).

Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in his role as the chairperson of the state capture commission has thrown the gauntlet at former President Jacob Zuma, accusing him of capturing the South African Revenue Services (Sars) with the assistance of the entity’s erstwhile boss Tom Moyane.


Well, that is in the ideal world. The report comes out in the context of a divided ANC beset by allegations of corruption on both divides – the RET side and the CR17 side (Ramaphosa’s faction).

Acting against those who are implicated in the report could either have the effect of consolidating Ramaphosa’s power or alienating him in an ANC where corruption has become common place.

On Friday, ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe warned against the prosecution of leaders.

“We can use that report to hunt each other down and destroy everything that is in the movement, we can do that. Or we can use that report to look into the mistakes and weaknesses that are in the report and try to correct them,” he said at one of the events in the build-up to the party’s birthday.

For a second, you may think Mantashe is doing his personal bidding after the commission heard that controversial facilities management company Bosasa installed security equipment at his house for free when he was the party’s secretary-general.

However, Mantashe’s sentiments are likely to find sympathy in an ANC besieged by corruption.

Mantashe is an important player in the ANC. Not only did he emerge as one of the forces behind Ramaphosa’s rise to power, he also holds a powerful position as the chairperson of the party and hails from the Eastern Cape, which has been a reliable support base for the president.

If the likes of Mantashe have their way, it won’t come as a surprise if Ramaphosa uses the report to consolidate his second term as ANC leader instead of jailing those fingered in state capture.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said there are expectations that Ramaphosa will have to be careful about the politics around the Zondo report and how it will affect his political fortunes.

However, Mathekga said Ramaphosa had no choice but to act on the report.

“It will be difficult if Ramaphosa comes forward to undermine the recommendations tabled in the Zondo Commission, and not do what he has been asked to do. He finds himself in a position where he has nowhere to cover for all the
cronies,” he said.

“It should be about integrity of institutions that are functional than protecting the ANC.

“I believe this moment does give the president a chance,” he added.

For his part, Ramaphosa told an ANC gala dinner on Friday that there had been elements within the organisation that were resisting the renewal of the organisation.

Cyril Ramaphosa

However, before he was disrupted by a power failure and whisked away from Protea’s Ranch Hotel outside Polokwane, Ramaphosa said “that [renewal] is going to happen, whether they like it or not”.

The Zondo report represents a significant moment for Ramaphosa and the ANC: it is either going to be business as usual of saving the rogue elements for political expediency or a clean break with corruption.

To read more political news and views, click here.

George Matlala,

Thomas Lethoba

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