Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea


Ramaphosa’s response to state capture report shows ‘he’s protecting ANC, not the country’

Ramaphosa didn't say anything about implementation, or mention implicated colleagues.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s response to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has, according to experts, once more failed to protect South Africa as he chose to protect the ANC instead and did not announce action against Cabinet members named in the report by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, a day after submitting Cabinet’s 76-page report to parliament, Ramaphosa said “the people of South Africa are tired of corruption and want it to end”.

“The government is committed to combating corruption in all its forms, in every part of government and in every sphere of the state.”

‘Ramaphosa trying to win election’

However, Government and Public Policy think-tank director Dr Ivor Chipkin said Ramaphosa’s response showed he was protecting the ANC – and he had no intention of fighting corruption within the party.

“The president is trying to balance so many different things; he’s trying to retain and maintain the reputation and the integrity and the unity of the ANC; he’s trying to win an election,” he said.

“My sense of him, though, is he’s a party man and he’s going to protect the ANC, rather than taking the steps necessary which potentially would unsettle key people in the organisation.”

Chipkin said the issue around state capture was not just about a “group of bad people” stealing money. “If that’s how we interpret the findings of the commission and what we would look for in his response, then we’ve fallen short in our understanding of what state capture was.

“It’s not just a policing intervention we need.

“We need to think very seriously around the nature of our politics, how and when politics happens, but also around the state and the way in which it is organised.”

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Political analyst prof André Duvenhage said: “As always, the president spoke well and was accurate, but he has not done anything since the Zondo report came out.”

Duvenhage said Ramaphosa didn’t say anything about implementation, or mention colleagues in his Cabinet who have been implicated.

“How does he deal with that? That is a two problem area. On the other aspects, like all the time, he’s consistent, but as we say in Afrikaans, dis hol woorde. It’s just hollow thoughts and sentences. People would like to see action.”

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) agreed with both experts and said the country needed more than lip service to undo and prevent state capture.

‘Lacks substantial plans’

Although the civil organisation welcomed Ramaphosa’s response and reporting back to the nation about the recommendations made by the commission, Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage said they had hoped for a far more informative and action-based response.

“The president had four months to study the report. We are disappointed that after four months he largely appeared to repeat and summarise the recommendations by the commission.

“The president’s report lacks substantial plans and concrete decisions on what or how he intends to implement the recommendations of the state capture report.”

ALSO READ: Opposition slam Ramaphosa’s ’empty promises’ on state capture-implicated ministers

Outa’s portfolio manager on state capture Rudie Heyneke said the president missed an excellent opportunity to take the nation into his confidence on real progress and future action on this matter.

“Ramaphosa has a dual responsibility to act on the recommendations, both as president of the country and of the ruling party.

“His feedback to the nation underlined the fact that South Africans will most likely not see any real action on the matter before the ANC’s national conference in December.”