'I’m not captured & have never been captured by anyone'
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was put on the spot in Parliament on Thursday by an EFF MP who asked whether he was part of the state capture machinery.
During his appearance in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon, Ramaphosa fielded questions about government’s response to corruption, state capture and whether continuous Cabinet reshuffles were adding to instability in the state.
The politically well-connected Gupta brothers and their business associates are accused of influence peddling to land lucrative contracts with state-owned companies.
Their sway over government was investigated by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who recommended a judicial commission of inquiry be set up to investigate their dealings.
Ramaphosa was put on the spot by an Economic Freedom Fighters parliamentarian who asked whether he was part of the state capture machinery.
“I’m not captured and I’m absolutely clear about that. In my own conscience, in my own heart, I have never been captured by anyone.”
Ramaphosa says members of the Gupta family should subject themselves to a commission of inquiry.
“And the emails and so forth does, in the end, give a lot of evidence - and some of it might be circumstantial, some of it might be direct evidence - that that family is in one way or another involved in all of this.”
Repeating a line he’s said before, the deputy president told Members of Parliament he hopes the inquiry will be established soon.
President Jacob Zuma is challenging in court Madonsela’s directive that the Chief Justice appoint the judge who will lead the inquiry.
"IT'S THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION"
In posing a question to Ramaphosa, the Democratic Alliance's John Steenhuisen referred to reports that he is set to be removed.
“Deputy President, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to put questions to you today because if the briefings from within your own party are to be believed, this could be your last oral question session as deputy president. Sounds like the only buckling down you’re going to get to is packing your office.”
The Deputy President said the call on his political future could only be made by President Jacob Zuma.
“If I were to be removed it would be at the pleasure of the president. It is the president’s decision and the president exercises his prerogative on matters like these.”
Ramaphosa has told MPs, if he is removed as deputy president he'll accept the decision but will continue to serve his country.
“Now, the one that you are positing about my removal is a matter that I cannot comment anything about. Because I am not the one who decides on these matters.
“If that eventful day ever happens, that I need to pack my office and vacate, honourable Speaker, I hope you will allow me to engage the services of Mr Steenhuisen to come and pack up in my office. I will lay out the boxes and he will pack up my books.”
WATCH: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in the National Assembly