South Africans should not fear the revelations currently emerging in various commissions of inquiry, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.
“The truth that is coming out will set us free and will make us stronger, but we must make sure the wrong things being talked about in the commissions must never, ever, ever, ever happen again in South Africa,” Ramaphosa told thousands of African National Congress supporters at the launch of the party’s Northern Cape 2019 elections manifesto at the Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley.
“We never want to go back to the things that are being revealed in the commissions. We want to make sure it never happens again,” he said.
South Africans have, since January, been astonished by revelations made at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture, where testimony has been presented of wide-scale looting of state funds – possibly running to billions of rand – and measures to hide the crimes.
Two other commissions are running parallel to the state capture inquiry and have thus far revealed equally disturbing patterns of cronyism, fraud, corruption, and political manipulation.
The Mokgoro Commission is investigating the fitness to hold office of senior state prosecutors Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi. Both have been plagued by allegations of politically motivated prosecutions.
A third commission is investigating allegations of impropriety in the Public Investment Corporation, which manages over two trillion rand in public sector assets, mainly government pension and other public sector funds.
“Those among us who are found to be involved in wrongdoing must come forward themselves and be accountable for what is being done. It is important for the country and for the ANC to ensure we grasp the moment and restore the credibility of our movement,” Ramaphosa said.
The ANC had taken a number of steps to ensure that it emerged from the commissions with integrity. The Thuma Mina campaign was one of these and would ensure a recommitment to improving the lives of citizens. Restoring the credibility and integrity of the governing party was an ongoing process, he said.
“The ANC is humbling itself before the nation without any arrogance. We are coming to you without any sense of bravado and saying, as our Constitution demands of us, that we are prepared to continue to be servants of the people,” Ramaphosa said.
Earlier, he warned government was going to go after drug kingpins who ruined the lives of young people. “Those who are involved in drugs and gangsterism must know we are coming for you, we are going to focus on you.”