Ramaphosa on rebuilding SA after years of state capture

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President Cyril Ramaphosa receives the first part of the state capture report from acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa receives the first part of the state capture report from acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Photo: GCIS

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South Africa’s state institutions have been all but massacred during the years of state capture and President Cyril Ramaphosa believes the findings and recommendations of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry are the first steps towards rebuilding what was destroyed.

Ramaphosa said the first part of the Zondo report “paints a deeply disturbing picture of how key institutions of our democracy were compromised and undermined with criminal intent”.

READ: News Analysis | Zondo missed the vetting bus

In his weekly newsletter released on Monday, the president wrote: “Not only were significant amounts of money stolen, but these institutions were not able to properly fulfil the functions for which they were established.”

Acting Chief Justice and chairperson of the commission, Raymond Zondo, submitted part one of the report to the president in the first week of January.

It detailed how several public institutions were infiltrated, looted and severely damaged. These included state-owned enterprises South African Airways, the Government Communication and Information System and the SA Revenue Service.

Ramaphosa wrote:

The findings and recommendations of the Zondo commission will help the country to rebuild these institutions and hold those responsible to account. We must ensure that we use them to safeguard these institutions into the future so that they are never captured again.

He added that the things South Africans had read in the Zondo report should strengthen their resolve to defend the institutions of our democracy, all the entities of the state and our democratic constitutional order.

“We must safeguard against any and all efforts to diminish our hard-won democracy – whether these efforts take the form of corruption in state-owned enterprises, the subversion of our law enforcement agencies, the sabotage of our economic infrastructure or attacks on the independence and integrity of our judiciary. “We need to protect our Constitution, our democratic state and the electoral process from anyone who wants to weaken our democracy and deny the South African people of their hard-won freedom.”

READ: Opposition to block Ramaphosa from receiving state capture report is ‘ill-conceived and legally untenable

Meanwhile, on Monday the DA said it would write to Zondo requesting that he urgently consider approaching the Constitutional Court seeking an order of perjury against Ramaphosa for alleged misleading testimony delivered before the commission.

Dr Leon Schreiber, MP and DA spokesperson for public service and administration said: 

Using the precedent established when the commission directly approached the Constitutional Court to obtain an order of contempt against former president Jacob Zuma, when he refused to appear before the commission, it is now time to hold Ramaphosa similarly accountable for the misleading testimony he gigglingly delivered before the commission in an attempt to hide the truth about ANC cadre deployment from the people of South Africa.
 

Schreiber said that during the president’s testimony before the Zondo commission on April 28 last year, Ramaphosa denied that the ANC’s cadre deployment committee had sought to influence appointments to the judiciary. The president, he said, had initially denied that the appointment of judges was ever even discussed.

Schreiber noted, however, that due to the DA’s efforts to expose the meeting minutes of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee, the party now knew that the statement by the president had been “untruthful”.

He said that during a meeting of the ANC deployment committee on March 22, 2019 – over a year into Ramaphosa’s presidency – the committee had overtly “descended into saying” which judges “would be good”.

The committee, said Schreiber, had gone even further by explicitly recommending the names of particular judges it wanted “deployed” to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Labour Court and the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape divisions of the high court. During the same meeting, the ANC had also lamented “the judiciary having too much power”.

“When Zondo directly approached the Constitutional Court seeking an order of contempt against Zuma, he created an important precedent that any person who sought to undermine the work of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture would be held liable, with Zuma ultimately being sentenced to a 15-month prison sentence. It is critical that the commission upholds this principle by applying the same standard and mechanism of directly approaching the Constitutional Court in this case of apparent perjury by Ramaphosa.

Schreiber said: 

The DA believes that there is thus ample legal precedent for Judge Zondo to approach the Constitutional Court to hold Ramaphosa accountable and protect the integrity not only of the commission’s work, but of the entire South African judicial system.



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Lubabalo Ngcukana 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
lubabalo.ngcukana@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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