Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
23 Jun 2022
10:41 am

State capture: Ramaphosa’s silence made him complicit, Zondo finds

Narissa Subramoney

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was not kind to Ramaphosa regarding his failure to act against state capture.

File: President Cyril Ramaphosa

Remember the time when President Cyril Ramaphosa famously defended his deafening silence on the ongoing onslaught of state resources?

He had told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture when allegations of wrongdoing came to light that he had five options:
1) Resign

2) Speak out

3) Acquiesce and abet

4) Remain and keep silent

5) Remain and resist


Well, it turns out Chief Justice Raymond Zondo who chaired the Commission didn’t buy into Ramaphosa’s reasons for allowing state capture to continue unabated. A damning finding by Zondo states the president had nothing to lose if he had spoken out earlier- in a non-confrontational matter- against the ongoing and obscene criminal activities within the ANC.

Ramaphosa chose silence to the detriment of the country

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams

A stronger stance from Ramaphosa may have been just the type of leadership that several cabinet members were looking for at the time.

Zondo found that even if then-President Jacob Zuma had fired him as Deputy President of the country for speaking out, ‘Ramaphosa would have maintained his position as ANC Deputy President because Zuma could not have fired him from that position.’

“President Ramaphosa could have inspired others in the ANC to be more vocal and the more voices that became vocal the less chances that, those who were pursuing state capture would have continued as before,” said Zondo.

Zondo further damningly remarks that Ramaphosa’s stance did not stop state capture from continuing.

Ramaphosa would have still won the ANC leadership race if he had spoken out

Zondo’s report reminds us that even if Ramaphosa was recalled as the country’s deputy president, it would not have diminished his position in the ANC.

“He ought to have remembered that there was a precedent for this. President Zuma was fired as Deputy President of the country and used the time to campaign for the position of President of the ANC in Polokwane in 2007 and, indeed Mr Zuma won in Polokwane, defeating President Mbeki.”

Zondo, therefore, found the president had failed to use his voice when the country and members of his cabinet needed most needed his support.

“It would be untenable to send a message that if the same scenario were to happen again sometime in the future, the right thing is not to speak out,” Zondo said.

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