WATCH: Ramaphosa: I'm not before the Zondo Commission to make excuses

President Cyril Ramaphosa is testifying at the state capture inquiry in his capacity as the leader of the African National Congress (ANC). He is expected to face questions around cadre deployment, politicising the public service and the independence of the judiciary.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa appears at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on 28 April 2021. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he appeared before the state capture commission because he wanted to assist the commission.

Ramaphosa is testifying about his knowledge of alleged state capture in his capacity as African National Congress (ANC) president and deputy president.

Ramaphosa said that the ANC had agreed to establish the state capture commission and it was the responsibility of the party to support it.

“I appear before the commission not to make excuses, the ANC has agreed to not only support the commission but to assist the commission where possible,” he said in his opening statement.

Ramaphosa is expected to face questions around cadre deployment, politicising the public service and the independence of the judiciary.

TACKLING CORRUPTION

Ramaphosa said that the ANC had embarked on a journey of renewal and rebuilding, which he said was a process and not a one-day event.

He said the party acknowledged that there were elements of corruption in its ranks, but there was contestation over acknowledging the existence of state capture, including in government.

He said that in 2017, “the Nasrec conference resolved that all implicated in state capture should account to the integrity committee.”

However, this step-aside policy has somewhat been challenged by some members, including the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule, whose 30-day step-aside deadlines looms closer and closer.

POLITICAL FUNDING ACT

Ramaphosa said that the ANC had agreed that it would review its guidelines on receiving funding from donors. This was in relation to the new Political Party Funding Act, which limited the amount that could be donated to political parties and prohibited donations from foreign governments, agencies, persons and entities.

The act came into effect on 1 April and had been met with much contestation from some ANC officials, including deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, who told Eyewitness News that the limitations in the act were not fair to donors.

However, Ramaphosa said that the ANC had agreed that its guidelines needed to change: "The ANC has also identified weaknesses in its approach to funding in its internal funding contests… its guidelines are not suited for the conditions of the time that we live in."

THE ANC DEPLOYMENT COMMITTEE

Ramaphosa has explained the role of the ANC deployment committee in the appointment of posts in government.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) accused the party of having a "cadre deployment" policy, which ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe refuted earlier this month.

Ramaphosa said that people recommended could be an ANC person or a non-ANC person. Ministers became involved in the final selection process.

He said that the committee merely recommended candidates it deemed suitable but it was not up to it to decide who was appointed to a post or not.

"I know that in some cases the committee’s wishes may not happen. So, it is for that reason that I describe the deployment committee as a recommendation committee. And it takes into account a whole number of considerations. Are some of them political? Yes [but], for key positions where we seek to advance the mandate of the governing party. But where, for instance, the requirements and the experience of a candidate overrides that, we then say we rely on the person as a South African to execute the task."

WATCH: ANC president Ramaphosa makes first appearance at Zondo Inquiry