PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday testified on controversial Gupta brothers, saying that the ANC clearly delayed in its reaction to emerging evidence of the family’s influence in the country.
He said the Gupta Leaks emails presented sufficient evidence of the family’s influence on government, which required Parliament or the police to investigate the matter.
Ramaphosa was speaking on his second day at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in his capacity as the leader of the ANC.
“The delayed reaction was not a correct way to handle matters and I will concede that. The contestation on state capture continued for quite a while. So that amount of contestation about matters of this nature could in many ways have led to the delayed reaction. These contestations do take place in various organisations,” said Ramaphosa.
“As deputy president, you really work under the leadership of the president who leads the executive. Your role, as much as it would appear like it is expansive, it is a role that is constricted.”
Ramaphosa also said that the ANC did not probe corruption accusations against the brothers as the party did not hold the capacity to do the same.
However, he agreed with the commission that Parliament had the powers to investigate the allegations and the party should have agreed to it.
Rajesh Gupta (also known as Tony), and his brothers Ajay and Atul have been accused of looting state organisations of billions of rands because of their proximity to former president Jacob Zuma.
Former South African mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane is accused of helping the brothers acquire mines in South Africa.
Reports at the time suggested that the Guptas then used the mine to bid for contracts at an exaggerated cost.
Ramaphosa said he regrets that the ANC delayed in investigating state capture through parliament’s committees, but denies that this was due to deliberate resistance.
The ANC at the time made a counter proposal that those who had any knowledge of the matter go to the police or the Public Protector.
“The thinking would have been which of the structures that we have in the state that would have greater effectiveness of investigating these matters and coming to a conclusion that prosecutorial processes should comment it was through at the time that other institutions the Public Protector, the Police may have had a better grip on all these matters,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said the emergence of the Gupta leaks had activated Parliament’s role to respond to the evidence.
“Once these Gupta leak emails came out, it became clear to many of us that there needed to be a response of some sort. The ANC knew that it needed to get to the bottom of this on a number of other structures. This would have been in line with what Parliament needed to do at that time because a flood of evidence was now becoming evident and available,” said Ramaphosa.
- Inside Politics