WATCH LIVE: Ramaphosa says Zuma, Mbeki recalls were painful processes
President Cyril Ramaphosa said he still supported the ANC's approach of disciplining members if they didn't toe the party line because he had seen how divisions — including removing two presidents — nearly destroyed the party.
JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday admitted that members of Parliament should put the people that appointed them before the political party.
But he said he still supported the African National Congress (ANC)'s approach of disciplining members if they didn't toe the party line because he had seen how divisions - including removing two presidents - nearly destroyed the party.
Ramaphosa has testified about parliamentary oversight and how it is weakened by party loyalty.
WATCH LIVE: Ramaphosa testifies at state capture commission (session 2)
Former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza was the first to defy party directives when former President Jacob Zuma was facing a motion of no confidence.
Ramaphosa said there was nothing wrong with that.
But he maintained his loyalty to the party that he said was nearly torn when Zuma and Thabo Mbeki were recalled.
“A very painful process, deeply painful, almost tore the governing party apart. But it was an important check and balance, which in many ways if it had cascaded down to Parliament, it would have divided the party down the middle and maybe that stopped that.”
Ramaphosa said even opposition parties use the herd mentality, and they have shown solidarity by all walking out when one MP is expelled from the National Assembly by the Speaker.
NOTHING SINISTER ABOUT CR17 CAMPAIGN
The president said there was nothing sinister or underhanded about his CR17 campaign to become ANC president.
He’s told the state capture inquiry the campaign was also never used as a vehicle to buy votes at the party’s hotly contested Nasrec conference in 2017.
Ramaphosa was being cross-examined about donations made to the ANC and his campaign by government contractor Bosasa.
The president dismissed a number of claims about his CR17 ANC presidential campaign, telling the Zondo commission he was never involved in its finances.
He said a decision was taken by his campaign managers to keep the identity of donors away from him to avoid any conflicts.
“There is nothing sinister about CR17 campaign. Nothing underhand. People always say and fear that those who gave money wanted something in return. I would never allow that.”
Ramaphosa also vehemently denied that votes were bought through his campaign.
“I never want to be part of a campaign that is going to descend into all these deviant types of behaviour that we talk about in the ANC like vote-buying. And I even said I would rather lose the race rather than have votes bought.”
He said perhaps there should have been an internal examination of the nature of donations from people like the Guptas, as well as Bosasa.