President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday finally broke his silence on whether he would attend the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
He said he would do so with pleasure should he be invited, because South Africans deserve to know the truth about state capture.
With his statement, which he made during his question time in parliament, Ramaphosa ended speculation around whether he would appear and that some in the ANC wanted to undermine the commission.
He also silenced opposition parties that last week challenged him to appear before the commission on behalf of the ANC, which they claim had allowed state capture to occur under their watch.
The commission is investigating incidences of alleged state capture, including the appointment of Cabinet ministers by the Gupta family, and the siphoning of state funds to sponsor the Gupta’s media establishments like ANN7 and The New Age.
Among those who have testified before the commission so far are former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, former Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS) head Themba Maseko and GCIS acting head Phumla Williams.
Answering questions in the national council of provinces yesterday, Ramaphosa said as a leader of the ruling ANC he was obliged to attend if he was invited because it was the ANC that first called for the commission to be established.
He said he had no difficulty in attending at all and he would go there with pleasure.
He assured the parliamentarians that the ANC would not interfere with the work of the commission.
“It is a public commission, the people of South Africa deserve to know what happened. The state belongs to the people of South Africa and we will be accountable to the people of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also reiterated what he said in his State of the Nation address in February, that everybody, including himself, Deputy President David Mabuza, Cabinet ministers and the management of state-owned enterprises would undergo lifestyle audits as early as the end of October.
He said a framework for the audits would be in place by the end of October and government would ensure that it was effective and comprehensive, covering all those who deal with tenders.
“We are going to have a robust system, allow us space and time,” he said.
A number of anti-crime agencies, including the Financial Intelligence Centre and the auditor-general, would be engaged by director-general in the presidency, Cassius Lubisi, to design the framework.