State capture: Yes, we did it

Staff Writer | May 01, 2019
Ramaphosa admits the African National Congress (ANC) enabled ‘state capture’.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that “(i)t was the ANC that was captured”.

He was speaking at an event in Lynwood, Pretoria on Monday evening. The comments were captured by broadcaster eNCA.

Ramaphosa said the truth of what took place would be revealed by the Zondo Commission. This body was established in early 2018 under former President Jacob Zuma to investigate allegations that certain interests had suborned the state for their own purposes.

Ramaphosa said: “The state was captured. It was the ANC that was captured. Yes, as the Zondo Commission unfolds, clarity will become more apparent on that.”

The president added that the ANC was willing to admit its failings in this respect, and this would make easier its process of renewal.

He had previously said that telling the truth would hurt.

State capture became a particularly prominent theme in light of allegations that the Guptas – a wealthy and politically connected family, originally from India – had been able to leverage its proximity to powerful South African politicians to further their business interests. Notoriously, they were held to have had influence over the appointment of cabinet ministers.

It does not appear that President Ramaphosa is compromised by links to the Guptas, but it raised eyebrows in some quarters that he served as President Zuma’s deputy while the “state capture” agenda was being pursued.

Some critics have pointed out that as pernicious as “state capture” under President Zuma may have been, an analogous programme has been pursued by the ANC since the late 1990s. Its cadre deployment initiative sought to place all “levers of power” in the state and society in the hands of party loyalists. This has been held to have done extreme damage to professionalism in the civil service and to have enabled corruption.

Between 2013 and 2017, Cyril Ramaphosa – then deputy president of the ANC and for part of that period, also deputy president of the country – chaired the ANC’s deployment committee.

 

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