Ramaphosa answered questions in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday amid the public outrage about Covid-19 related corruption under his government’s watch.
Ramaphosa, who was in the NA chamber for the first time since the lockdown, fielded several questions from DA leader John Steenhuisen as well the EFF’s commander-in-chief Julius Malema.
Malema pointed to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, whose husband, Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, has been implicated in personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption.
He said: “It’s a confirmation that indeed the higher office… if it is involved, you can imagine what is happening in a municipality.”
Malema quickly turned to Ramaphosa’s sealed CR17 documents, which the EFF wants made public.
“If you unseal the CR17 documents, you make it easy for us to see if donors of CR17 are the beneficiaries of PPE [tenders]. You say you are fighting corruption, yet you seal documents that will help us hold you and your party and ministers accountable.
“So I think it is just a lip-service to say you are fighting corruption whereas, at the same time, you are not telling us who donated to CR17, so that we can quickly check if these people are not the beneficiaries of PPEs,” Malema said.
In response, Ramaphosa said the CR17 funding matter should be left to proceed in court.
“I think we all know that to pre-empt what a court will rule is not often the best of things. I hear now the allegation you [Malema] make that those who may well have donated [to CR17] were involved in PPE contracts… I don’t know about that,” Ramaphosa said.
The EFF has approached the High Court in Pretoria to unseal the documents.
The party believes the secrecy of CR17 campaign private funding also fostered fertile ground for the capture of Ramaphosa, compromising his ability to independently fulfil his constitutional obligations.
On the scandal around his spokesperson, Ramaphosa said: “The spokesperson has stepped aside. We are looking into that matter and we will be dealing with it, once we have gone into it.”
DA leader John Steenhuisen asked Ramaphosa whether he supported former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s promotion to the KwaZulu-Natal legislature as an MPL.
“It’s a simple question, it’s a simple answer. The matter is being discussed in the structure of the ANC. Yes, everybody agrees it has caused a lot of disquiet and the matter is being discussed. Leave it to those structures to deal with it,” he said.
Ramaphosa shared a light moment with Steenhuisen, by referring to him as minister.
“I almost called you minister…next election maybe…maybe,” Ramaphosa said.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said Ramaphosa is on record as saying that the ANC’s interests are above the country’s needs.
“I do not remember saying the interests of the ANC are above the interests of South Africa. They are certainly not. South Africa comes first,” he said to the applause of ANC MPs.