Zondo: Ramaphosa could have done more to resist state capture

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture has found that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s strategy of resisting state capture from within Cabinet instead of confronting former president Jacob Zuma was not enough.

Ramaphosa received the fifth and final part of the commission today, after for and half years of oral evidence and hearings.

In his testimony, Ramaphosa told the commission that he was going to be fired from cabinet had he been confrontational.

But Chief Justice Zondo, who chaired the commission, differed with his approach, saying the country lost billions of rand through state capture while senior people such as Ramaphosa claimed to have resisted the pillaging of state coffers.

“President Ramaphosa asserted that those who pushed back from within were able to curb some of the excesses of the state capture. Was this enough? It is indisputable that state capture continued during the years president Ramaphosa was resisting and that the consequences (to the economy, to government, to our society) have been severe. Money continued to be moved through illicit channels private beneficiaries,” Zondo wrote in the report.

“Corruption continued to entrance itself within the institution of the state. Considering the dire straits, we find ourselves in, the effectiveness of President Ramaphosa’s decision to remain within the state and party is not given,” he added.

Zondo further said a question should be asked if the state capture would have not arrested sooner if powerful figures such as Ramaphosa had acted urgently.

“They instead chose to work ‘strategically’ from within. The crux of President Ramaphosa’s ‘balance of forces’ explanation is that any other approach would not have been allowed by the ruling party, and he and others were unwilling to damage the ANC by publicly going against it,” Zondo said.

The chief justice noted that although Ramaphosa had conceded that there was corruption in the ANC and promised to fight it, the statements were not new. In fact, Zondo said, similar statements were made by ANC leaders since 1994.

“I put to president Ramaphosa that the ANC has been promising to fight corruption for over twenty years- so what would different now? The ‘line in the sand’ had in fact been drawn many times over the last 20 years.”

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George Matlala

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