One of the country’s top lawyers, Vuyani Ngalwana SC, has called on the Zondo Commission to summon President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide an account for his alleged role in State Capture.
As the legal battle between Jacob Zuma and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo rages on, Ngalwana has criticised the manner through which the commission has selected its witnesses, having left out many of the ministers, who served under the Zuma presidency between 2009 and 2017. Ramaphosa, Zuma’s Vice President, was appointed chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee into SOEs in 2016 and Ngalwana believes that it’s important that he answers for irregularities in SOE operations.
“Many state-owned enterprises are, by government’s own account, a financial and governance shambles and are, according to the media reports, riddled with corruption involving tenders of considerable amounts of money,” he said, according to The Sunday Independent.
“Surely, the president can now be called by the commission to account for his role in the decimation of state-owned entities, particularly on what his interventions were to stabilise and reform these entities during his tenure as chair of Zuma’s IMC on state-owned enterprises, and where, in his assessment, the failures and successes of his efforts lie.”
Ngalwana went on to discuss allegations that the donors who funded Ramaphosa’s successful ANC presidential campaign in 2017, CR17, later received government contracts and appointments to SOE boards.
“Are these allegations true or false?” he continued. “Will a bare denial of these allegations suffice for the Commission? Documents that could possibly serve as evidence of contributors to the President’s election campaign remain sealed from the public scrutiny by court order.
“I am informed that a court challenge to that decision has been mounted and that papers have already been prepared.
“But does the Commission not require that evidence in order to satisfy itself that there is no truth in these troubling allegations?”
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson has reiterated that the President is open to appearing in court to defend himself.
“The president has on a number of occasions and public platforms declared his willingness to testify before the Commission,” Tyrone Seale said on Friday.
Political analytic, XX, agreed with Ngalwana’s statements, saying that it will be a healthy development from a political point of view.
“It stands to show us that many of these Cabinet ministers have dirty hands and might directly be involved in corrupt activities in some way or another and will demonstrate to the nation how the ANC is contaminated by political termites,” he said.
“Expanding this commission to cover all Cabinet ministers under Zuma might provide a broader political perspective that shows the complexities and the cultural nature of corruption in South Africa.”