The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has asked that President Cyril Ramaphosa not have the honour of receiving the report of the Zondo commission on state capture after its work is done.
The ATM says that because Ramaphosa has been implicated in wrongdoing by witnesses before the commission, it would be inappropriate for him to be presented with the report.
Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe recently cast aspersions on Ramaphosa regarding the time he was deputy president and heading the electricity war room.
The ATM is the first and only party so far to table a motion of no confidence against Ramaphosa. The motion, which was tabled last year, is yet to be heard.
According to ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula, his party does not believe that it would be in the interest of justice for Ramaphosa, who has been implicated on various occasions before the Zondo commission, to retain the privilege of receiving and adjudicating the report’s recommendations.
“Based on a precedent set when the president is implicated in the investigation of a report commissioned by his office, and is due to receive the same report, the president should not receive this particular report so that the highest level of objectivity is maintained and be seen to be maintained,” said Zungula.
This position was also echoed by ATM national executive member and head of policy and strategy Mzwanele Manyi, who called on the “same logic that was used when (former president Jacob) Zuma was in office to prevent him from deciding on who should chair the state capture commission” to be used and thus also disqualify Ramaphosa from being the recipient of the commission report based on the allegations against him regarding his alleged illegal involvement at Eskom through the war room, and his links to Glencore and funds received from Bosasa.
Zungula elaborated on this, saying “South Africa must be governed by principle and precedent set when situations of similar nature were dealt with in the past (alluding to Zuma being denied the right to elect a judge to preside over the commission owing to the fact that he was implicated)”.
He added that the country can’t have “rules that are subjective... Justice must be blind”.
However, AfriForum has argued that in her report State of Capture in 2016 – which led to the Zondo commission – former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made provisions regarding the final report and how it would be made accessible to members of Parliament and the general public.
In her report, Madonsela said: “The commission of inquiry is to complete its task and to present a report with findings and recommendations to the president within 180 days. The president shall submit a copy with an indication of his/her intentions regarding the implication to Parliament within 14 days of releasing the report”.
Speaking to City Press, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said “as you can see, provisions have been made that although the report has to be given to the president, he is also mandated to share it with Parliament within 14 days. Which means if it’s given to Parliament then it’s a public document that AfriForum will have access too”.
He said concerns around who the report is given to – whether it be Ramaphosa who is implicated, or the ANC itself – were a storm in a teacup.
“When it is in the public domain, advocate Gerrie Nel and AfriForum’s private prosecution unit will take that report to the national prosecuting authority and ask them to prosecute, as they should do.
“We hope that they will do their job but, should they not, we are well equipped to pursue a private prosecution. We will make sure that one way or the other those who are exposed in the report will end up in jail. The wheels of justice will keep turning and justice will prevail,” said Kriel.
Although AfriForum maintained a confident demeanour, some within the ANC itself had reservations about the recommendations being fully and timeously implemented.
An ANC national executive committee member told City Press that “confidence had been very high within the organisation, especially among those who still retained a sense of servanthood and were genuinely anti corruption – until Ramaphosa was implicated”.
The concerns, the source said, were if the allegations had merit and whether Ramaphosa would place his interests or those of the country first.
“The commission itself was given a certain number of days to conclude its work and it has failed. So for those saying the report gave specific instructions on when the report ought to be handed to Parliament, what if this is challenged and there are prolonged court challenges and requests for time to implement recommendations before the report is given to Parliament?”
However, following his party’s weekend-long lekgotla, Ramaphosa reiterated the ANC’s continued “reaffirmation of the work of the Zondo commission”.
ANC head of presidency Sibongile Besani has also on many occasions told City Press that Ramaphosa was willing to present himself before the commission and give his side of the story and assist in whatever manner he could.
In February 2020, the commission was granted an extension until March this year to complete its work.
However, the commission has incurred delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, witnesses such as former President Jacob Zuma taking the commission to court and the commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, having to self-quarantine for 10 days after being exposed to an individual who tested positive to Covid-19.