Ramaphosa at state capture commission: Seven quotes that had SA talking

12 August 2021 - 09:00 By cebelihle bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa says resigning would have entrenched state capture and corruption in the public service to deeper levels.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says resigning would have entrenched state capture and corruption in the public service to deeper levels.
Image: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

South Africans followed president Cyril Ramaphosa's testimony at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday, with many taking to social media to weigh in on it.

Ramaphosa told commission chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo that he had not been aware of state capture until it was exposed by journalists.

He was then left with several options including resigning from the executive. The president said this would have impaired his contribution to ending state capture. 

His testimony drew mixed reactions, with some saying he should have either resigned or spoken out. 

Here are seven telling quotes from his testimony that had SA talking:

President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared before the state capture commission of inquiry on August 11 2021. On Ramaphosa's first day in the hot seat, he was questioned on corruption, Eskom, Prasa and his involvement with former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.

How influential is the deployment committee in appointing comrades?

“The deployment committee knows that, at best, [all] it can only ever do is to note that there is a vacancy and that there are certain names that could be proposed. Having done that, it also knows very well that it is not the appointing structure. By definition and the way our constitution works, it could never have the judge appointed.”

What motivated the deployment committee's recommendation of two justices to fill the Judicial Service Commission vacancies in 2019?

“The party now more and more focuses on competence, professionalism and capability to do the work. Another balance is the demographic balance of our country. Sometimes the temptation is we will just take mostly males and mostly African and the party will say no this demographic does not represent our country.”

Did he consider resigning after learning of state capture?

“I approached Jessie Duarte and said to her I would resign my position as the deputy president of the republic, and I believed that message was conveyed to the then-president.”

Who actually recommended appointing Brian Molefe?

“I approached him [Zuma] and said I think we should close the war room because we had too many entry points at Eskom. Let us have one person who will run the process of repositioning Eskom and I wanted to be disengaged. I felt Brian Molefe was the name who could do the work.”

Was he Eskom's 'de facto' chairperson?

“I could never be Eskom's chairperson. I was deputy president and in that role, we were dealing with the challenges that Eskom was facing. I could never be that brazen as to advance the interests of one company that everyone could have known I was associated with. Even the notion of me being chairman of Eskom is quite bizarre.”

Did he know about the links between Molefe and the Guptas?

“I had no inkling or knowledge or even suspicion that there was that linkage in connection. I noted that, and in time, it became a real concern that somebody one held in high regard was entangled with a family that had captured the state.”

Did he ever meet the Guptas?

“I met them after the 53rd conference at a breakfast. I met them again when they came to the ANC headquarters in Luthuli House. It is at that stage we discussed the landing of the plane at Waterkloof and expressed the view about the difficulty they had placed President Zuma and the government in.”