Ramaphosa distances himself from dozens of Zuma's key appointments

28 April 2021 - 19:51
By mawande amashabalala AND Mawande AmaShabalala
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Tshepo Motsepe arriving at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Tshepo Motsepe arriving at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday.

As deputy president of the ANC and chair of its deployment committee, Cyril Ramaphosa knew nothing about a host of key senior public appointments made under  the Jacob Zuma administration.

These included appointments to law-enforcement agencies, state-owned companies, boards and as executives. Ramaphosa said this to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday.

The inquiry sought to understand what role Ramaphosa, as head of deployment, played in the “patronage appointments” of characters, among others, such as Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, Berning Ntlemeza, Tom Moyane, Dudu Myeni, Dan Mantsha, Siyabonga Gama, Arthur Fraser and Shaun Abrahams, all of whom left with a dark cloud hanging over their heads.

The commission wanted to know how the boards of Prasa, Transnet, Eskom and SAA were appointed during the Zuma years and whether Ramaphosa had a hand in them.

Ramaphosa said he knew nothing about most of the named individuals as the ANC deployment committee never processed them.

“You will find that a number of those never even featured in the deployment committee,” said Ramaphosa. “Let us accept that some of those deployments were done in a particular era, and in a particular way.

“Right now as we look at that past slate, we are able to say we actually need to do things differently.”

Ramaphosa said it was unfortunate that most of the Zuma appointments “ended up being deployments that were not fit for purpose”.

“I would not be able to particularise each one of them because they happened as they did but I would say the deployment committee would not have dealt with a whole lot of those.”

Asked if he knew whether Zuma's appointments were made for dubious reasons and were  influenced by outside forces at the time, Ramaphosa said that only came to light later when the manifestation of state capture was as clear as broad daylight for all to see.

“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 that was amiss that was happening.

“These state capture issues only became evident in time as we moved on. That is why I even referred to the statement by comrade Fikile Mbalula when he mentioned in the NEC meeting how he came to know about his appointment. Even at that time we were not alive that there was state capture ... something horribly wrong [was] going on.”