Johannesburg – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that that while he believed that the era of state capture was over, corruption remained deeply entrenched in both the public and private sectors.
He was speaking after testifying at the State Capture Inquiry where he said he was confident that the levels of graft that necessitated the current probe would never be witnessed again.
It was during former President Jacob Zuma’s 2009-2018 tenure that the state allegedly suffered some of its worst corruption, with businesspersons reportedly running government from behind the scenes for personal gain.
President Ramaphosa was Zuma’s deputy for four of those years, before succeeding him in 2018.
While President Ramaphosa said he was in the dark concerning most of the corrupt dealings, he told the inquiry this week that he chose not to speak out about the corruption as he could have been fired, arguing that it was more effective to fight the rot from within.
“This meant ‘staying in the arena’, with the challenges, limitations and frustrations inherent in doing so, but it was the course of action that had the greatest likelihood of bringing state capture to an end, restoring the institutions of state and defending our democracy,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said he believed state capture was a “well-organised project” that influenced policy and legal processes and offered protection to those involved.
It was also revealed at the commission of inquiry that records from the ruling ANC’s national disciplinary committee showed that the party had allegedly not disciplined any official for corruption from 2014 to 2021.
President Ramaphosa conceded that malfeasance was a major worry for the party.
“There has been contestation in the party on this one. That the party, for the most part, did not really live up to the value system that is the backdrop to its existence,” he said.