by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – PRESIDENT of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, has completed testifying at the Zondo Commission by affirming the party’s support of the divisive commission.
The support, which he pledged on Thursday, is in contrast to the stance taken by Ramaphosa’s predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who has openly defied the commission.
A faction of the party sympathetic to Zuma believes the commission is bent on settling political scores in the infighting within the governing party.
Ramaphosa began giving testimony on Wednesday.
“As the African National Congress, we deeply appreciate the work of the commission and reaffirm our total commitment to provide whatever assistance we can to ensure it fulfills its mandate,” he said on Thursday.
“The existence of this commission and the fact that it is able to undertake such a far-reaching investigation is testament to the strength of our democracy and the institutions that support it,” Ramaphosa added.
He was testifying as the leader of the ANC and is returning to the commission in May to appear as the head of state.
Ramaphosa is the most high-profile figure to appear before the commission public inquiry launched by the Zuma government in January 2018, to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption, fraud and other allegations in the public sector.
The embattled Gupta family is the alleged mastermind of state capture.
They were seen as associates of Zuma, who has defied court orders to appear before the commission led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who he accuses of bias.
In his opening remarks on Wednesday, he conceded “state capture took place under our watch but refuted ANC was not entirely “captured” by some individuals.
“The vast majority of ANC leaders, members and cadres are vehemently opposed to corruption in all its manifestations.”
Mpho Molopyane, economist at the Rand Merchant Bank, said Ramaphosa’s testimony would be critical and could have “massive implications.”
“However, the outcomes of previous commissions and slow implementation of recommendations have cast doubt over the Zondo commission, raising questions over its price tag as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority are perceived to be acting slowly on the corruption allegations that have emerged from the commission,” the economist said.
– CAJ News