Ramaphosa confident SA won't see state capture again as lessons had been learned

The president was asked to account for his role during the state capture era as South Africa's number two and was also quizzed over his actions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appears at the state capture inquiry on 12 August 2021. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the Zondo Inquiry represented a watershed moment and that he was confident that the country would not see state capture again because lessons had been learned.

The president was asked to account for his role during the state capture era as South Africa's number two and was also quizzed over his actions. Ramaphosa spent two days testifying before the state capture commission of inquiry.

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He was deputy president to then-President Jacob Zuma during the height of the erosion of state institutions which enabled grand scale corruption. Ramaphosa appeared in his capacity as head of state having previously testified as the current African National Congress (ANC) president.

President Ramaphosa pleaded ignorance to most the state capture allegations this week, claiming to have learned of the extent of this corruption through the media, civil society and Chapter 9 institutions.

But the leader, who speaks of tough lessons from that era and the value of renewal, struggled to explain his way through remnants of state capture still under his watch.

These included former intelligence minister, David Mahlobo, who is part of Ramaphosa’s executive, and Correctional Services Commissioner Arthur Fraser, who’s been implicated in corruption from his time at State Security.

“Mr Chairperson, I am waiting for the commission’s report before I make my final judgement,” Ramaphosa said.

He mentioned that the two were facing possible investigations from their time at State Security.

Ramaphosa has insisted that the findings from the commission would serve as a final guide on how to deal with implicated persons.

The commission’s chairperson, Raymond Zondo, warned that this could be a long wait as the report was likely to face legal challenges.

ROCK BOTTOM

President Ramaphosa also said that South Africa had hit “rock bottom” and could not afford to go through another state capture episode.

He told the commission that the capture of key state institutions had a detrimental impact on the country.

The president said that South Africa had arrived at a “defining moment” and must never walk this path ever again.

He had earlier told the commission that state capture happened under the cover of darkness and pleaded ignorance on questionable events happening in government.

He said that South Africa should never have to deal with the capture of state in the future.

"I see this as the one and last state capture occasion or moment for us. And we’ve hit rock bottom as a country and a nation and the only way must be up."

He said that meaningful change should start in the ANC.

"For us who are part of the governing party, it starts in the party. It’s starts in the party how we renew ourselves, how we foster the renewal process and how we strengthen."

Ramaphosa is expected to be the last witness but acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that this would depend on any further applications.

WATCH: Fighting state capture & taking responsibility – Ramaphosa concludes testimony

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