President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation yesterday that “[F]or the country to move forward, we need to establish the full extent of state capture, identify those responsible for facilitating it, and take decisive steps to prevent it happening again.”

The President is absolutely correct. Recent developments in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry have shown that the capture of the ANC and of National Government and its entities for corrupt ends extends well beyond Jacob Zuma and the Guptas.

Ramaphosa also correctly stated that it is “incumbent upon any person who may have knowledge of any of the matters within the Commission’s mandate to provide that information to the Commission, to do so honestly and to do so fully.” 

It is therefore incumbent on President Ramaphosa to himself come clean and voluntarily request to appear before the Zondo Commission to fully account for his senior leadership tenure since 2012. Ramaphosa must show leadership and heed his own advice in this regard. The DA has already requested the Zondo Commission to call Ramaphosa and 11 other ANC officials, to give their own full accounts of the capture of the ANC and of government. While we await the Commission’s response, the President should request to appear.

As Deputy President of the ANC from 2012, and Deputy President of South Africa from 2014, there is no conceivable way Mr Ramaphosa had no knowledge of the wholescale corrupt capture of the ANC and of National Government and its entities.

Ramaphosa must, at the very least, answer the following questions before the Zondo Commission:

  • At what stage he became aware of the capture of the ANC and the national government and its entities;
  • What steps he took subsequent to becoming aware of such;
  • As Chairperson of the Inter-ministerial Committee on State Owned Entities (SOEs) while Deputy President, what knowledge he had on the appointment of Gupta-friendly individuals to SOE boards;
  • Why he personally appointed several individuals with ties to the Guptas to his first Cabinet on 26 February 2018; and
  • Whether he was aware of any “special work” being performed for the Guptas and their associates by his office while he was Deputy President.

The DA is also in possession of email communication which appears to suggest while Deputy President, Ramaphosa’s office assisted in the identity change of an individual with close ties to Gupta associate Ashu Chalwa. I will be submitting this to the President’s Office requesting a full explanation.

As former ANC MP, Makhosi Khoza revealed, “If we were to prosecute all known corrupt cases‚ including those implicated in the Gupta e-mails‚ almost 80–90% of the ANC leadership at all levels of government would have to replace their shiny tailored suit and pretty dresses with orange overalls.” It is vital that South Africa is made aware of the full extent of this ecosystem of corruption which exists within the ANC and within national government and its entities.’

South Africans deserve a President who is willing to lead and take bold action when it comes to corruption. Ramaphosa must therefore appear and account before the Zondo Commission.