POLITICS

I thank those who fought state capture - Cyril Ramaphosa

ANC President says there were many people who paid a great price for their principled stand

CLOSING STATEMENT BY ANC PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA BEFORE THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO ALLEGATIONS OF STATE CAPTURE, CORRUPTION AND FRAUD IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR INCLUDING ORGANS OF STATE

29 April 2021

Chairperson,

Thank you for the opportunity to make a brief closing statement as I conclude my testimony in my capacity as President of the African National Congress.

Before I do so, I would like to pay my respects to the memory of Mr Isaac Mogase, the first Mayor of Johannesburg in a democratic South Africa. Mr Mogase passed away earlier this week, on Freedom Day.

It is significant to mention his passing at this time because it was in this very chamber that Mr Mogase so ably represented the people of this city, and because he was an outstanding example of the kind of public representative that the people of our country seek and deserve.

We extend to his family our deepest condolences.

The ANC wishes to thank the Commission for allowing the organisation the space to put forward its official position on many contested and misrepresented areas.

We hope that this testimony, together with that of other leaders who testified on behalf of the ANC, assists the Commission in forming a clearer picture of the ANC's approach to corruption, its knowledge of and response to allegations of state capture, and the measures it is taking to address its organisational deficiencies.

Over the past two days, we have traversed a number of matters that are of public interest and of importance to the Commission. Due to the constraints of time, we were not able to cover all the pertinent issues.

We hope the Chairperson will read through the detailed account in my statement of what the ANC has done in the last few years to address many of the challenges raised in the course of the Commission's work.

When I return to the Commission, I will reflect on the actions we have taken in the state to end state capture, to dismantle the networks that made it possible and to rebuild the efficacy and integrity of public institutions.

We are mindful of the fact that the mandate of the Commission does not extend to how political parties must function — and that it is the sole prerogative of political parties themselves to determine their own organisational arrangements.

However, we accept that it is necessary for the Commission to examine how the internal processes and practices of political parties impact on the functioning of public institutions to fully appreciate how state capture occurred.

In undertaking this examination, it is necessary to recall that there was significant contestation within the African National Congress on the matters before the Commission.

It is also important to remember that state capture not only undermined the integrity and capability of public institutions; it also had a deeply damaging effect on the African National Congress itself.

As we recognised at our 54 National Conference, state capture has had a profound impact on the coherenceand unity of the ANC and on its ability to carry out its mandate and mission.

As part of its efforts to make a decisive break with the era of state capture, the ANC has embarked upon a journey of renewal and regeneration.

We believe that the work of this Commission — as much as its purpose is to serve the nation — will assist the ANC along this path of renewal.

Although it is at times uncomfortable and difficult, we welcome this scrutiny as a necessary step in tackling corruption in the state and across society.

I wish to conclude by paying tribute to all those South Africans who played a role in unearthing the corrupt activities that we now know as 'state capture'.

Here I make reference to those whistle-blowers, journalists, law enforcement officials, staff of Chapter 9 institutions, members of the judiciary, members of Parliament, government officials, members of the governing party and its Alliance partners, and various civil society formations who were vital in bringing many of these issues to the fore.

There are many people who paid a great price for taking a principled stand. There are many people who withstood great pressure and took great risks.

The nation owes much to each of these people, for they have each, in different ways, reaffirmed the values of our Constitution and our democracy.

The existence of this Commission owes much to the determination of ordinary South Africans who have stood up to corruption and state capture.

The existence of this Commission — and the fact that it is able to undertake such a far-reaching investigation — is testament to the strength of our democracy and the institutions that support it.

As the African National Congress, we deeply appreciate the work of the Commission and reaffirm our total commitment to provide whatever assistance we can to ensure that it fulfils its mandate.

I thank you.

Issued by the ANC, 29 April 2021