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From corruption to cadre deployment: 5 takeouts from Cyril Ramaphosa's testimony

29 April 2021 - 11:15 By cebelihle bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared before the state capture inquiry on Wednesday in his capacity as president of the ANC.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared before the state capture inquiry on Wednesday in his capacity as president of the ANC.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared before the state capture commission of inquiry on Wednesday in his capacity as ANC president. He answered questions about the party's deployment policy, corruption and struggling state-owned enterprises (SOEs). 

Here are five key takeouts from day one of 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.

“Such members must face the full consequences of their actions. They cannot rely on the ANC for support and protection, nor may they appeal to the principle of collective responsibility.”

Cadre deployment 

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

“When I appoint cabinet as president, I just say, 'This is where I want you to go,' and quite often there are no questions asked. People are deployed as they are informed by their upper leader. 

“In other situations, there are discussions, because you have to take into account the circumstances of the comrade. You've got to take into account their skills base and other things.”