The big story: Ramaphosa’s testifies to Zondo

The big story this week is President Ramaphosa returning to the State Capture Commission following his first appearance in April. Then, he was testifying in his capacity as President of the ANC, and he was criticised for being terribly vague. Ramaphosa’s second appearance, in his capacity as President of the country, was hotly anticipated. 

His testimony is ongoing, but here are the important bits so far. 

  • Being deputy under President Jacob Zuma left him with very few choices, but he ultimately chose to stay and fight state capture from within the executive. 
  • Being confrontational with Zuma would have led to him being fired and thus undermined the fight against state capture. “Had I and like-minded individuals resigned [it would have led to] the unfettered expansion of the state capture project,” said Ramaphosa.
  • When Zuma booted Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister, replacing him with Des van Rooyen, Ramaphosa threatened to resign.
  • The ANC’s deployment committee did not interfere with appointments to key institutions – it merely made recommendations to its MP’s about certain appointments. Ramaphosa claimed the committee’s role should be viewed more positively, saying more women are in government because of its recommendations.   
  • He said the party was blindsided by Zuma’s friendship with the Gupta family, admitting it could have done more to prevent state capture. He denied being complicit in state capture but admitted that the party could well have been negligent.
  • He admits that rebuilding the state and recovering from state capture will take a long time.

As you can imagine, many of his responses elicited a collective eye roll from citizens on social media. But hey, at least he showed up. His predecessor is in jail for failing to do so.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 12 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.