Former president Jacob Zuma should tell the State Capture Commission of Inquiry about corruption during his tenure and stop deflecting, SA Communist Party deputy secretary general Solly Mapaila said on Thursday.
Speaking during a joint briefing with civil society organisations in Johannesburg, Mapaila said Zuma made up the spy allegations before the Zondo-led commission in order to “get away with murder”, diverting attention from the real issues before the commission.
“We indicated from the beginning that we must not allow any diversion from the context of that commission. The Zondo-led commission is dealing with matters of state capture and corruption against certain individuals who allowed the State to be abused and captured, and not only the Gupta family…that is what the former president should have been concerned about and deal with those questions,” he said.
Testifying before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo this week, Zuma said former Cabinet minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was an apartheid-era spy and that Siphiwe Nyanda, a former SANDF general and president of the uMkhonto weSizwe National Council, corroborated with a spy called Ralph who had tried to assassinate the former president.
Mapaila said Zuma’s statement was “reckless and irresponsible”.
“On those allegations of ANC leaders being spies, we felt that it was reckless and irresponsible utterances from him. We were quite shocked that a president who led the ANC and who was deputy president before, would allow these comrades [that he accused of being spies] into his Cabinet when he knew all along they were spies. How? It was quite unfair of him to utter such accusations.”
Mapaila added that both Ramatlhodi and Nyanda sacrificed much fighting for the liberation of their country. Ramatlhodi worked closely with Zuma during the heydays of apartheid and also worked in the office of the former ANC leader Oliver Tambo, while Nyanda, an former MK commander, lost a brother who was killed by the apartheid police in Swaziland.
Turning to what he called a fightback by those who aided and abetted the capture of government departments and state-owned-enterprises, he said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had been singled out as a “stumbling block” as he fought corruption at parastatals. He added that those who said the minister was “anti-black” were wrong.
“Disappointingly, some of the people in state-owned enterprises who are very educated feel that fighting corruption is a fight against blackness. There is no black professional who should be proud of corruption. We expect them to express their capacity in service of humanity and the country… therefor this narrative that Gordhan is anti-black in order to perpetuate corruption in state-owned enterprises is completely unacceptable.”
Mapaila cited the now defunct VBS Mutual Bank which was looted by politically connected businessmen and politicians.
“Look at what happened with VBS…twelve black professionals involved in stealing money belonging to old men and women, pensioners and villagers. They unashamedly stole from the poor. We cannot accept that.”
He said Gordhan should be protected because he was implementing policy resolutions to fight corruption in institutions such as the SA Revenue Service (Sars).
“People like Pravin Gordhan stood firm and is implementing the movement’s resolutions. If we allow a person like Pravin to fall, all of us will fall one by one and corruption will never be defeated. So we want to say to comrades working in that Sars unit that they have done well. They were vilified and attacked at Sars, and we appreciate the work they’ve done. We will meet all those who think they would take us back to the dark days in the streets as SACP, we will not allow any form of bullying in country.”
At least 24 civil organisations, led by the SACP and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, will next week hold a public rally in the Johannesburg city hall to mobilise against the “state capture fightback” by people they said were implicated in corruption allegations. The other organisations included Corruption Watch, Freedom Under Law, Amnesty International, Helen Suzman Foundation, Council for the Advancement of SA Constitution and Business Leadership SA.
– African News Agency (ANA)