Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa did little on Wednesday to dispel Agang MP Andries Tlouamma’s claim that he suffers from “Guptaphobia”.
Not once did he mention the name Gupta – the notorious family believed to be behind a massive state capture project – while answering questions in the National Assembly.
Tlouamma asked Ramaphosa for how long he had known about “a certain family’s alleged influence” at Eskom and what he had done to “stop this rot”.
Ramaphosa said he only knew what he had read, such as the Public Protector’s State of Capture report and articles by investigative reporters, based on hundreds of e-mails leaked from the Guptas.
A judicial commission of inquiry
He repeated calls for a judicial commission to investigate the claims that the Guptas were interfering in the running of government to benefit their businesses. Law enforcement agencies should investigate allegations of state capture, said Ramaphosa, adding that anyone guilty of wrongdoing should face the consequences.
Tlouamma then accused him of “Guptaphobia”, saying: “You never came out saying the Guptas are wrong.”
Ramaphosa listened to him with a slight smile and replied that he was not there to win a contest of pleasing Tlouamma.
Many in the ANC had spoken out “from time to time” when something was wrong, he said.
Cope MP Deidre Carter asked when this commission would be set up.
“The commission will be set up when the president sets up the commission,” replied the deputy president.
Amid jeers from the opposition, Ramaphosa asked that the president be given the time and space to do so.
No place to hide
“In the end, there will be no place to hide,” Ramaphosa said.
“Date and time! Date and time!” EFF MPs chanted.
Ramaphosa said the president would determine this.
DA MP Natasha Mazzone asked Ramaphosa if he could guarantee that Parliament’s committees would be adequately resourced to deal with the investigations into state capture, and if an ad hoc committee would be established for this.
He responded that dealing with resources was a matter for Parliament, and there was no need for an ad hoc committee because the portfolio committees were dealing with it.
“This matter is not going to be swept under the carpet.”
‘Protecting the Guptas’
IFP MP Jan Esterhuizen asked him if he did not think the level of protection the Guptas had was obscene.
“Nobody, no family, is above the law,” Ramaphosa said.
Opposition MPs burst out laughing when he dismissed as a myth claims that some people were enjoying the protection of the state.
“I have no authority, no ability to investigate. So please don’t give me a task I don’t have,” he said. – News24