In hindsight, it was right move to stay on under Zuma - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said that there were five options available to those opposed to the state capture network during Jacob Zuma’s term.

President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at the state capture inquiry on 11 August 2021. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa maintains that he had limited knowledge of the full extent of state capture, saying that it was nicely hidden.

Speaking to Eyewitness News on the sidelines of day one at the commission of inquiry, Ramaphosa said that in hindsight, it was the right decision to continue serving under former President Jacob Zuma.

During his testimony, the president spoke of egregious and obvious abuse of power.

His appearance mostly focused on Eskom and Prasa and he will continue answering questions from the commission on Thursday.

President Ramaphosa said that there were five options available to those opposed to the state capture network during Zuma’s term.

They could have walked away, which in his case almost happened when Zuma appointed Des van Rooyen as finance minister.

But he maintained that sticking it out and fighting for his Nasrec victory was the right thing to do.

"We had all the choices, a number of us, and we stayed with the view of ensuring that we move forward to change things, so with hindsight, I would say yes because today we are in a much better position to effect changes that our people want."

The president, who was the country’s number two during the so-called state capture period, has also admitted to understanding the extent of the damage through channels outside of government.

These included media, civil society and Chapter 9 institutions – he’s also defended himself against those critical of him for being in the dark.

"You see, state capture was quite nicely hidden and that is borne out by what we are hearing here, the suspension of people and all that."

The president is expected to resume with his testimony on Thursday.

Meanwhile, criticism against President Ramaphosa over his role during the last administration has continued.

The main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said that it was impossible for the now-president to not have known what was happening with key ministerial appointments, along with some of the country’s state-owned enterprises.

Its leader, John Steenhuisen, has been attending and following proceedings.

Ramaphosa, using Eskom as an example, said that there were many things, including meetings, that he was simply not told of.

But Steenhuisen has labeled the president’s version of events as an omission of the truth.

"We were raising these issues in Parliament when he was the leader of government business and the deputy president. He cannot claim ignorance of these matters, he knew what was going on because we all knew what was going on."

WATCH: Ramaphosa: state capture was ‘nicely hidden’

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