The ANC has lauded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appearance before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture on Wednesday.
The party said that this was in line with its support for the commission and was a sign of confidence in the Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
The party is on record calling on all its members and supporters as well as all members of society to assist the commission in its work.
The first part of the President’s appearance focused on providing clarity and concluding the evidence he previously presented before the commission in his capacity as President of the ANC.
“President Ramaphosa’s appearance before the commission is yet another demonstration of how much the ANC and government respect institutions established to strengthen our democracy and enhance accountability,” said the party.
Ramaphosa was grilled on, among other things, the party’s cadre deployment, his involvement in Eskom dealings and allegations levelled against him by previous witnesses.
On Cadre deployment
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday told the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture that he did not recall minutes being taken during the committee’s meetings, when he chaired the committee as the country’s then deputy president.
The committee is responsible for making recommendations on the appointment of ANC members to government and state-owned entities (SOEs).
“When I was chair of the deployment committee, I do not recall ever having to go through the minutes of the previous meeting. We always tended to deal with the issues at hand on a contemporaneous basis as they were presented,” Ramaphosa said.
“I think you can ascribe that to rather unfortunate record-keeping processes because, in the main, the ANC has so many meetings, one after the other. There are so many committees and I think those who are in charge would just take notes and record the decision and it’s then communicated,” he added.
The commission’s evidence leader, advocate Paul Pretorius, said the commission requested the deployment committee’s minutes from the ANC. However, they were told there were no minutes available for its meetings from 2012 to 2017.
Pretorius said it was strange that there were no minutes available.
“It seems rather strange that there were no minutes or no minutes available… it just seems improbable that there were no minutes,” he said.
During his last appearance at the commission in April, Ramaphosa said the committee merely made recommendations and proposals on the appointment of ANC members to government.
‘Committee gave instructions’
Pretorius on Wednesday said there was strong evidence that the deployment committee gave instructions on which appointments had to be made.
He referred to meeting minutes post-2017, which he said indicated that the committee “decides and instructs” on government appointments.
But Ramaphosa stuck to his guns that the deployment committee was “not an appointment committee”.
Ramaphosa also conceded that ANC deployees who did not have the correct skills, competency and integrity to be in government were appointed nonetheless.
“Where the deployment has resulted in people who are incompetent, I would concede that that was an error.”
Ramaphosa told the commission that, in the end, there were safety processes in government positions where the legally mandated policies should be followed.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said the commission, chaired by Justice Raymond Zondo, had agreed to its request to disclose meeting minutes of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee.
Ramaphosa was also asked about a meeting of the ANC’s deployment committee that discussed vacancies in the judiciary.
Pretorius asked him why the committee was recommending judicial appointments when the Judicial Service Commission (JSE) existed for this purpose.
The president said the committee knew very well that it was not the appointing structure.
He said the committee discussing judiciary appointments should be looked at positively as it contributed to transformation in the judiciary.
“I can say, as a deployee of the ANC, the fact that today we have so many female judicial officers, is because of the ANC’s insistence,” Ramaphosa said.
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