'Infighting hampers ANC's fight against graft', says Ramaphosa

28 April 2021 - 13:08
By Siviwe Feketha
President Cyril Ramaphosa appears at the state capture commission to testify in his capacity as the president of the African National Congress.
Image: Veli Nhlapo President Cyril Ramaphosa appears at the state capture commission to testify in his capacity as the president of the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture that the ANC had ignored some of the indications of state capture when they were reported within the party as there was no support in dealing with it in the national executive committee.

Ramaphosa was addressing the inquiry on Wednesday as the political head of the ANC with his testimony focused on what he and the ANC knew and did about allegations of state capture and corruption.

 Ramaphosa told the commission that the party had opted to not address allegations of state capture, including the 2011 statement by the its NEC member Fikile Mbalula that he had been told by the Guptas of his pending ministerial appointment before former president informed him.

“In my knowledge that matter was not taken further by the ANC,” he said. 

ANC heavyweights came out in numbers in a show of support and attended the proceedings of the inquiry.

These included the party’s top six officials, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and treasurer general Paul Mashatile, who were leading a fairly large ANC NEC delegation that included cabinet ministers.

The DA top brass, led by its leader John Steenhuisen, also attended the inquiry. 

Ramaphosa said it had taken time for the term “state capture” to gain currency and for it to be confronted by the party over the years, even as there was evidence.

“Even as the term gained currency there were individuals within the ANC and in society who contested both the use of the terms and the existence of the phenomenon,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the ANC’s current tough measures against corruption had been informed by the advertent and inadvertent complicity of its leaders to acts of wrongdoing.

He said the party had been “challenged by subjective challenges” in being unable to tackle maleficence, including internal fights within the party.

He said the ANC had also known that the commission would place it under great scrutiny over the allegations of corruption and state capture that have plagued the state over the years as the party headed government and was internally challenged by the corrupt practices.

“The extent to which corruption has contributed to practices of patronage, factionalism and manipulation of organizational processes in the ANC is a matter of public record,” Ramaphosa said.

He, however,  insisted that this did not mean the party was itself corrupt and that it was not the only one troubled uniquely by the scourge of corruption.

“There are other institutions in society, various political and social formations as well as private sector companies that have to confront corruption within their ranks,” he said.

Ramaphosa hinted to the party’s adopted strict measures against leaders implicated in corrupt practices, including its “step aside” resolution as an example of its change of attitude in dealing with corruption since the ANC 2017 national conference that saw him assuming presidency.

He pointed out that ANC leaders implicated in corruption and state capture would have to stand on their own in dealing with charges against them, without counting on the party for support.