LIVE BLOG: I can't wait to hand over inquiry report - Zondo tells Ramaphosa

As the State Capture Inquiry wraps up it's three-year-long work, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa returns one last time to answer questions in his capacity as state president.

Proceedings adjourn.

Ramaphosa jokes that there may not be any more money to pour into the commission.

Zondo says it's very important that Ramaphosa availed himself to be questioned.

Zondo says he can't wait for the day when he hands over the report and knows that he is done and has left it in Ramaphosa's hands. He thanks Ramaphosa for his cooperation.

Ramaphosa is now wrapping up with his closing statement. He speaks against corruption and warns that those guilty of corruption will be dealt with.

Ramaphosa cannot categorically state when and how he pushed back against state capture.

Ramaphosa says he doesn't see SA going through another "moment of state capture". 

Ramaphosa says getting rid of corruption in the government is almost like turning the Titanic around. 

Ramaphosa speaks about the fake report that Zuma based his decision to fire Gordhan on. He says Zuma was most unhappy about the alleged report. Gordhan was informed while on an overseas trip to urgently come home/

Ramahosa says it was hard to pick up on state capture initially as it was well hidden. He says they were not complicit. 

Ramaphosa says when Bell Pottinger collapsed, they thought they would go back to basics and the essence of what RET really meant.

He says the RET faction got involved in spreading lies about certain people.

Ramaphosa repeats what he said that those in the RET faction do wrong things and hide behind the RET tag. He says they bastardised the term and turned themselves into a faction. He says we need to go back to the term 'socio-economic transformation' rather.

Advocate Pretorius reads back an old Ramaphosa speech about the now-infamous RET tag used by Zuma supporters. He said at the time it was misused.

Proceedings will end at 4pm and Ramaphosa will make a closing statement.

Zondo asks if it's true that Zuma recommended Brian Molefe to replace Gordhan. Ramaphosa says it is true, but that did not receive support

Ramaphosa replies that it was his own conclusion.

Zondo picks up from Ramaphosa suggesting Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister to replace Des van Rooyen. Zondo asks how Ramaphosa knew that Zuma no longer trusted Nhlanhla Nene.

Proceedings resume after lunch.

Ramaphosa indirectly admits that Zuma was part of state capture.

Ramaphosa says the change his government is working on will take time to implement.

Ramaphosa says factionalism in the ANC translated into how the state was run.

Zondo does agree that the JSC does allow the public to submit comments for when appointing judges, even from political parties.

Ramaphosa repeats that the committee knows it cannot appoint but simply suggests.

Zondo now questions Ramaphosa on the deployment committee recommending judges for judiciary posts. He says this is a bit concerning. He says factionalism shouldn't get into the judiciary. He asks if the ANC has taken a position that even those who want to be judges must be recommended by the committee.

Ramaphosa says the SSA should never be there to serve and protect the president only.

Asked why he brought the SSA under the presidency, Ramaphosa says it is an asset of our nation, it is important that it is seen as such and there should be confident in it. He says in the past, it served certain factions in the ANC and had a lot of controversy. He says he deemed it proper to realign it.

"2007 is the time that the incapability of the state was initiated and mutated into state capture" - Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa concedes that the rogue elements in the SSA may have been led by former agent Thulani Dlomo during the July Riots.

Pretorius now asks Ramaphosa about SSA investigations that were halted as well as documents in safe-keeping. Ramaphosa says these investigations will not stop.

Little joy over Ramaphosa's answers on the SSA. 

Ramaphosa says he is aware of some of the corruption and dodgy appointments that happened at the SSA. He says this is why he brought the agency under the presidency.

Ramaphosa keeps reiterating that government is working to root out state capture, but is not directly answering many questions.

Ramaphosa says there are some really good people in the SSA who are there to serve SA, but we must admit that it was compromised and operating under state capture.

Ramaphosa says the inquiry is the final "washing machine" that will help the country "cleanse" itself of those who have committed acts of corruption.

Ramaphosa says capture of state goes through structures.  
"You have got protection, connection, access to make sure that people who are going to implement this are also appointed people".

Advocate Pretorius asks Ramaphosa whether he was aware of impropriety at the SSA.

Advocate Mybrugh has completed his evidence and Advocate Pretorius will now return.

Ramaphosa says government is now working to make sure that those appointed at SOEs are people of integrity who are not linked to dodgy people. 

Ramaphosa speaks to how financial statements are made at SOEs and why they use external consultants.

Ramaphosa explains why SOEs tend to pay more for procured services and products as there are often kickbacks. Ordinarily, there should be a discount.

Responding to a question of Gupta associates being appointed at SOEs, Ramaphosa says "key people strategically placed and that played role of fully capturing the state

Ramaphosa says he was not aware of Gigaba's visits to the Gupta home.

Ramaphosa says it is a president prerogative to move ministers around.

Myburgh asks how is it that Malusi Gigaba went from Deputy Home Affairs Minister to PE Minister. He asks if this is not unusual, Ramaphosa says it is as his capabilities would have been assessed by the President.

Zondo asks how government would in future make sure that action would be taken if a similar dodgy appointment could happen again.

An article in M&G raised a red flag over Molefe's links to the Guptas. Ramaphosa concedes that this raised a red flag.

Myburgh starts with Brian Molefe's appointment as Transnet CEO. The Gupta-owned paper TNA, predicted his appointment months before he was even nominated for the post.

Advocate Myburgh will continue leading evidence related to Transnet.

Ramaphosa has arrived at the chambers.

WATCH LIVE: 

Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa maintained 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.

Ramaphosa returns on Thursday for his final day of testimny.

Advocate Myburgh is now up but only for a few minutes before adjournment. He will deal with Transnet.

Advicate Soni says Prasa is so important as so many people depend on it. He says Prasa shows how state capture can happen as it was wrapped by scandal, at centre was ANC deployee Lucky Montana(who asked Soni recuse himself).continues

Ramaphosa again concedes that there were "errors" committed, but now they have drawn the line and are correcting past wrongs.

Soni says Popo Molefe is the only leader who took on corruption at Prasa and was punished for it. This was not good governance.

Soni says the appointment of 45 more people than were needed at Prasa's executive was a "scandalous" waste of tax payers' money.

Advocate Soni quotes Molefe who says for state capture to exists systems should be weakened & good people removed and replaced with those incompetent.

Ramaphosa concedes there was system failure at Prasa. He says they should have been more proactive to enforce accountability.

Advocate Soni is up next. He will lead evidence related to Prasa.

Ramaphosa says there was nothing wrong with him making the recommendation that Koko be removed. He adds this was a decision taken by him, Zuma and other ministers.

Seleka now deals with Koko's allegation that his statement that Koko be removed from the board was interference in Eskom affairs. 

Ramaphosa says he encountered him while he was CEO and thought that while he was fairly efficient, Eskom needed a CEO with more experience running a big company.

Seleka asks Ramaphsa if he knew that ex Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona wanted to return to Eskom after being suspended, he says he was aware of this.

Proceedings resume after lunch.

When asked if he knew the Guptas, Ramaphosa says he did meet them for the first time soon after the 53rd ANC conference at a breakfast they attended. He met them again at Luthuli House where they chated. He says they spoke about the controversial Waterkloof landing and the "difficulty" they had placed Zuma and the government in by doing so. He says he met them again at another breakfast where he was asked by a journalist about Zuma's friendship with the Guptas.

Ramaphosa says he was not concerned when Molefe resigned, but that he noted it.

Ramaphosa says when he recommended Brian Molefe for the CEO post at Eskom he had no clue that he was linked to the Guptas and that he was the man they wanted. He knew him as an effective leader from prior positions.

Ramaphosa says he was never aware of the appointment of Gupta-linked people at Eskom.

Zondo asks if Ramaphosa had any suspicions of anything untoward taking place during that period? Ramaphosa: more frustration, that I had and my immediate staff also had, says they did not think it was something of a "dark nature"

Ramaphosa says he went to former president Zuma to suggest they should close the war room "I realised there were just too many initiatives" - war room, IMC, Zuma was doing something else.

Seleka now asking about a meeting between the former president had with Zola Tsotsi, Dudu Myeni at Zuma's private home - the meeting was to discuss a possible Eskom inquiry & suspension of some executives. Ramaphosa says he had no prior knowledge about the meeting.

Ramaphosa says he refutes the allegation that he used political connections to influence Optimum securing contracts at Eskom.

He says the allegation that he interfered with Optimum contracts falls flat.

Ramaphosa says his dealing with the coal business never dealt with procurement.

Ramaphosa says he did not appoint himself to the War Room but was appointed by Zuma.

Ramaphosa says his role mainly focused on chairing the Eskom IMC.

Ramaphosa says the war room was largely overseen by deputy ministers and the Eskom chief of staff. It was housed at the Union Buildings. It was comprised of people with technical knowledge of Eskom operations, which Ramaphosa he did not get involved much because his was an oversight position.

Seleka starts with the Eskom war room, which Ramaphosa was put in charge of.

We are back from the adjournment. Advocate Seleka leads evidence on Eskom. He deals with the appointments of Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh as well allegations by Koko.

Proceedings adjourn for tea.

Ramaphosa says Koko's removal was not to achieve the capture of Eskom. 

He says his acquisition of Optimum shares was done through the JSE. He adds he was not involved in any of its day-to-day operations.

Ramaphosa now deals with his links with Optimum, as detailed in allegations against him related to Eskom. He says he resigned from the non-executive board in 2014 and sold his shares just before being appointed DP. He says he had no links to it from then on.

Ramaphosa says the NPA has started making strides in combating corruption.

Law enforcements was deliberately weakened to limit their ability to prosecute those guilty of corruption.

Ramaphosa says since 2018, the government he leads has undertaken to end corruption, starting ith changes in key leadership posts

Ramaphosa says he spoke out on the appointment because of the serious consequences.

Ramaphosa says he, Mantahse and Duarte urged Zuma to appoint another finance minister because the reaction in the markets was quite horrific. They suggested Pravin Gordhan.

He says he called Jessie Duarte to express his concerns. He says the message was conveyed to Zuma.

He says this was the height of state capture because when you capture treasury, you capture how the state is controlled. "I got concerned".

Ramaphosa speaking on the "weekend special" issue - Des Van Rooyen's appointment and the Rand's meltdown in response to the news. The president says the former DG came to see him, raising "great concern" about the capture of national treasury

He says this route had the greatest chance of helping end state capture.

Ramaphosa says he chose to stay and not join in but to work with others to resist the abuse and bring about change where they could.

He says he was limited from speaking out because it would've led to his removal from office.

He says resigning would have meant fewer impediments to state capture. It also would've destablised many government programmes aimed at service delivery.

Ramaphosa said he had 5 options when he became aware of the extent of state capture:

Resign
Speak out
Go along
Keep quiet
Remain, with the hopes of turning things around

He says resigning would have impaired his ability to contribute to ending state capture.

He outlines when he became aware of the nature of state capture. He says few people have had line of sight of everything that happens in the state. 

"Many of the incidents of state capture became known to me through the work of journalists, civil society organisations and institutions such as the public protector's office."

He will outline his responsibilities in both roles.

Ramaphosa will now make his opening statement as state president and former deputy president.

Pretorius has wrapped up his evidence.

"It's better late than never," he says.

He says the ANC is saying "we are renewing ourselves". He says they are the only party in SA that has borne its chest and hung its linen in the open and deal with corruption

Ramaphosa says the ANC realises what this lack of discipline has meant for its support.

Ramaphosa concedes that the ANC did not live up to its own value system.

Ramaphosa says it is a matter of concern.

Pretorius says they did not find in the documents a single case of an ANC member being disciplined for corruption. He asks that, given the prevalence of corruption, is it not of concern that the party has not called to account people found guilty of corruption

The commission requested disciplinary records and received national records from 2014 - 2021. 

Pretorius now moves the issue of discipline and accountability in the ANC.

Pretorius asks if he concedes that party loyalty is never a determining factor in government appointments. Ramaphosa says the party resolved that professionalism and non-partisanship is of utmost importance.

Ramaphosa says we must accept that we live in a world where lobbying takes place where people prefer certain people in certain positions. Therefore, there will be groups of people who will articulate preferences. It should not be seen as evil or wrong.

Ramaphosa reiterates that the ANC does not appoint but discusses who they would prefer. He says even members of the public discuss who they would prefer when it's time to make appointments.

Ramaphosa concedes that ANC maybe it should show its hand on who they want appointed to remove shroud of secrecy. “Maybe we need to grow up”. He says on the fact that other political parties are open on who they want in judiciary.

Ramaphosa: I will be the first to say "You cannot as the ANC choose judges"

He says the committee discussing judiciary appointments should be looked at positively.

Ramaphosa says the reason why we have so many women in the judiciary is because the ANC has called for more gender diversity.

Ramaphosa says the committee knows that it can only note judiciary vacancies and names that it can propose and that it doesn't appoint judges. 

Pretorius continues to say the meeting noted vacancies in the judiciary. The committee recommended two justices, a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal and other judge seats. He asks what is the committee doing recommending judiciary appointments. 

Ramaphosa explains that when a higher body makes a decision on something, that is the final decision. Parties also have to adhere to decisions taken by the NEC, NWC etc even when you don't agree.

Pretorius now points to what he says is an interesting minute from the committee, which illustrates frustration from one member saying that people don't understand the principle of democratic centralism. He asks Ramaphosa what that means.

Ramaphosa says he knows the issue of deployment is major. He concedes that where there were bad deployments, there were errors. But where there were suitable deployments, they must also be recognised.

He says as political parties, they do want people who will implement the political mandate. He says this is a consideration to have in mind.

Ramaphosa disputes the hard definition because it's not an appointing committee. It is a recommending committee.

In the end, it is cabinet that decides on appointments.

Ramaphosa says the hard definition of the committee's work is what has prevailed most of the time. He says it may appear that the approach is instruct and command, even if that were so, in the end there is some safety net. Even the ANC concedes this in its conference resolutions. The legally mandated process must be followed.

Based on available minutes from the deployment committee Pretorius says a minister recommends someone for appointment and the committee makes a decision on whether to give that person a green light.

Pretorius tells the commission that they have requested the minutes of the employment committee, he adds that they have them on records.

He says this is unfortunate record keeping.

Pretorius says that there are no minutes for deployment meeting minutes from 2012 - 2017. He asks Ramaphosa if he is aware of why there aren't any. 

Ramaphosa says when he was chair of the committee, he does not recall ever going through the minutes of the meeting as they always focused on the issues at hand.

Pretorius now deals with deployment and accountability and discipline in the ANC. 

He says there were 3 forms of deployment related to the ANC deployment committee and how they appoint ministers.

The commission hopes to conclude at 5pm today and tomorrow. Ramaphosa says they will have to discuss whether he can stay that long.

Pretorius says he hopes to conclude the evidence related to Ramaphosa's ANC Presidency within 1 hour. After that, Ramaphosa will make an opening statement related to his capacity as state president.

Advocate Seleka will question in relation to Eskom. Advocate Mybhurgh will question in relation to Transnet.

Advocate Pretorius will lead today's evidence.

WATCH LIVE: 

Ramaphosa has arrived at the chambers.

The commission has also been accused of being too soft on the president, with it possibly now having to rethink its approach.

While he previously testified on the ANC’s deployment policy, the Bosasa donations and the governing party’s relationship with corrupt members, he now has the task of explaining his own role in government at the time.

Many have wondered whether Ramaphosa did push back or looked the other way during the widespread plundering of the country’s resources.

He was, after all, the country’s number two during a period in which state capture was said to have taken place.

As President Ramaphosa returns to the stand before Deputy Chief Justice Zondo, many questions still remain.

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

“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.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to return to the state capture commission this week to give evidence and answer questions.

The commission on Monday said the president would first complete his evidence relating to the ANC in his capacity as the current president and former deputy president of the party.

Ramaphosa appeared before the commission in April this year.