President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said that with hindsight the ANC would not have knowingly accepted donations from corruption-accused company Bosasa.
Ramaphosa took the stand for the second day at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture in Johannesburg where he gave testimony in his capacity as ANC president.
The commission’s evidence leader, advocate Paul Pretorius, quizzed him about why the ANC continued to receive millions in donations and benefits from Bosasa despite the company being under investigation for contracts awarded to it by government departments under suspicious circumstances.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would have not “knowingly and intentionally accepted donations from companies or donors who have been involved in criminal activity”.
He was also asked about election war rooms established for the benefit of the party by Bosasa at its Krugersdorp headquarters. The election centres were created in the run-up to at least three previous elections.
Ramaphosa said he was not aware that the company was paying for the centres, which he once visited as ANC deputy president.
“I think it’s a very valid question and one should have been aware at an earlier stage about all this,” Ramaphosa said.
He said at the time, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and other “colleagues” knew that Bosasa was funding the operations.
“I went to the election centre which Bosasa helped to finance during the election campaign. And even then, it never really, I must be honest, never occurred to me that they were bankrolling or financing fully that centre on behalf of the ANC.
“With hindsight, as they say, hindsight is an exact science, we should have been more alert particularly to those reports that emerged a lot earlier.”
Ramaphosa said according to his recollection, there had been a period of about nine to 10 years when the corruption allegations against Bosasa were well-known.
“And so that should be regarded as a major lapse in our part,” he said.