WATCH LIVE: ANC should have acted on Mbalula's Gupta claims - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa continues giving evidence on state capture in his capacity as ANC leader.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa returns to the witness chair after a brief adjournment 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 his role as deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC) was largely a facilitation one.

Ramaphosa is currently testifying at the state capture commission.

He was appointed deputy president by former President Jacob Zuma in 2014.

He said: “As deputy president, you really work under the leadership of the president who leads the executive. Your role, as much as it would appear like it is expansive, it is a role that is constricted.”

Ramaphosa said that while the role of deputy president was not an executive role, it had the power to hold ministers to account and ensure that they fulfilled their obligations.

On payments from the Guptas, Ramaphosa said that the African National Congress didn’t investigate corruption allegations against the Guptas because the party didn’t have capacity.

But he agreed with the state capture commission that Parliament had the capacity to investigate and the party should have allowed it to.

He said that the ANC structures discussed the Gupta allegations.

But Ramaphosa said that he believed the proposal by the chair of chairs of portfolio committees, Cedric Frolick, to investigate was happening.

MBALULA'S GUPTA ALLEGATIONS

Ramaphosa maintains that then-Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s allegation that the Guptas knew about his appointment before he did at a 2011 national executive committee (NEC) meeting did not raise concern to him at the time.

During the NEC meeting, Mbalula said that he was called to the Gupta compound in Saxonwold where he was told that he would be appointed as minister of Sports and Recreation. This would be one of the first revelations that would prompt the media to look into allegations of state capture.

Mbablula was appointed as the Sports minister in 2010.

Ramaphosa, however, said that looking back, the ANC should have acted on what Mbalula said.

“Looking back, you want to kick yourself in the foot and say these were the signs that we have needed to pay attention to. The lights were flashing amber and we should have been more alert looking at them. But we didn’t at the time.”

Ramaphosa also spoke against the targeting and intimidation of journalists, calling it an affront to the country’s democracy.

“It is important for our country to stand firm in defence of human rights that is enshrined in our Constitution, about the freedom of the press and upholding the rights of journalists to do their work and report on these types of matters however uncomfortable it might make us.”

WATCH: Day 2 of Cyril Ramaphosa's state capture testimony