Opposition slam Ramaphosa’s ’empty promises’ on state capture-implicated ministers
Parties say Ramaphosa, as the head of the executive, should have exercised his power to fire or suspend ministers implicated in corruption.
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on Sunday evening in Pretoria, on the Zondo Commission’s report recommendations. Picture: Twitter/ @SAgovnews
Opposition parties have criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to take decisive action against Cabinet ministers implicated in state capture.
State capture report recommendations
Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday evening, on Cabinet’s response to the recommendations of the state capture commission, which was chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Ramaphosa said he was “attending” to the commission’s recommendations on Cabinet ministers who Justice Zondo made adverse findings against them.
“Therefore, in exercising my powers with respect to Members of the Executive, I am required to consider the Commission’s findings, recommendations and observations about particular individuals.
“In this regard, I am attending to the Commission’s recommendations on Members of the Executive against whom adverse findings were made,” he said.
Both ministers have taken the Zondo Commission’s findings against them on judicial review.
Opposition parties react
The Democratic Alliance (DA), the African Transformation Movement (ATM), and the Congress of the People (Cope) have expressed disappointment at Ramaphosa’s announcement on ministers implicated in state capture.
The parties said Ramaphosa, as the head of the national executive, should have exercised his power to fire or suspend ministers serving on his Cabinet.
DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said the president “completely avoided” making any announcements about his Cabinet ministers and how he will be holding them to account.
“This is firmly within his mandate and yet he made a vague mention about looking into this.
“The reality is that roughly R1 billion and six years have been spent on this commission, yet little action will be taken,” Gwarube said in a statement.
Gwarube said Ramaphosa’s address confirmed that Parliament must act as the last line of defence against state capture.
She said the DA will write to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to ask that an action plan must be developed to action the wide-ranging recommendations of the Zondo Commission.
“During this commission, Parliament was found wanting on how it holds the executive to account and how the ANC uses its numbers in the Houses of Parliament to derail Parliament’s work.
“It is entirely unclear what the Speaker of Parliament expected from a politically compromised president who will do everything – including refusing to hold those responsible for state capture to account – to stay politically viable in his party ahead of its elective conference in December.”
Cope said it was also disappointed with Ramaphosa’s address to the nation, especially when it came to action he would take against ministers implicated in corruption.
“This is again empty promises from the president. The president must just devote and implement the recommendations from the Zondo Commission,” said Cope national spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, told SABC News.
On Ramaphosa’s announcement that ministers will be prohibited from playing any role in procurement within state-owned enterprises or departments, Bloem said government should abolish the tender system.
“There is nowhere [it is going to work] if we still have people whose only agenda is to steal money. We must do away with tenders.”
ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said Ramaphosa should take immediate action against ministers implicated in state capture.
Zungula accused the president of “buying time” instead of taking immediate action against his ministers.
“If people see the president acting on the one element that is under his direct control, which is the appointment and firing of ministers, people would have confidence that indeed we are going somewhere,” he said.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe