Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has nailed his colours to the mast by saying the ANC was “not for sale”, and anybody who wanted to capture the state should rather “go next door”.
Speaking to about 1 500 professionals and academics at an ANC event in Sandton on Wednesday night, Ramaphosa said that although the party was moving “from scandal to scandal”, this would stop.
Siding with the lobby group that has spoken out against President Jacob Zuma’s close relationship with the Gupta family, Ramaphosa said the party was dealing with recent allegations of undue influence. “And as we deal with these matters, one thing that we will make sure to (say) to everyone: ‘The ANC is not for sale.’ And what we will also say is that the ANC refuses to be captured.
We will not be captured. Those who want to capture the ANC and make it their own and influence it to advance personal or corporate interest, you have come to the wrong address. Try next door. We will not be captured. All these matters will be dealt with in a very methodical way,” he said.
Ramaphosa said people were “streaming in … to put issues on the table”, and they were supporting “whatever allegations in a concrete manner”. He said the ANC was dealing with allegations of state capture “in a structured manner” and “away from the headlines”.
“We are dealing with it in an ANC way,” he said.
Ramaphosa said that once all these issues had been reported to ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe’s office, as had been decided by the ANC’s national executive committee over the weekend, “the ANC will receive a report and after they will debate the report, and clearly we will move our country forward”.
Ramaphosa said it was good that the ANC was dealing with this matter now.
He said: “There is always a risk of states and countries and movements to be captured. It happens all over the world, and in our case this is going to be a defining moment where we deal with this matter once and for all, and stop those who wanted to capture the ANC and an ANC-led government, we will stop you in your tracks. We will not allow this to happen, not in South Africa.”
Ramaphosa said the ANC should be given time and space to deal with this matter, and he added – to laughter from the audience – that the Gupta family said they would also cooperate. “They are willing to cooperate, and that is good. They will also have the opportunity to come and put whatever facts on the table as we deal with this matter as thoroughly and effectively as possible,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that it was not only the Gupta family that has allegedly captured the state. “There are a number of others as well, there are others who have either captured the state or are in the process of capturing the state, and we are saying to all and sundry, stop in your tracks, we are not going to allow you to capture this glorious movement, we will not allow that.”
It’s the principles that matter
Ramaphosa said business with the state should be based on principles of transparency, fairness, and respect for corporate governance. “If you’re going to tender to do business with the state it must be on an arm’s length basis, and it must be something that will stand the scrutiny of the public.”
He added: “As the ANC we want clean government, we want government that is based on advancing the interests of our people. We do not want [businesspersons] to be advancing their own personal interest whilst having formed alliances with certain individuals in the state. No to that, and we will always say no to that. If you want to do business, do business openly and fairly with government. If you win a tender, win it in a way where everyone is able to say this tender was properly done, and the company that has won it, will offer the best product or service.”
During the discussion time, some audience members brought up the issue of scandals in the ANC that were seemingly not dealt with.
“This issue of scandals in the ANC, yes you are right,” Ramaphosa responded. “We have been moving from scandal to scandal. We are a living organisation, and it is an organisation that is made up of human beings,” he said.
Ramaphosa said it was important to deal with these scandals an to ensure that, when ANC members breach the core values of the party, “there must be consequences”.
Audience members shouted out: “When?” to which Ramaphosa responded that the issues were being dealt with “now” by the integrity commission.
The party was rocked last week when deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas, revealed that the Gupta family had offered him then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s job shortly before Nene was sacked.
Several other ANC leaders came forward with similar claims of undue influence.
Speaking at the event earlier, ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile said the party’s national executive committee spent two days over the weekend discussing the Gupta family and state capture.
Ramaphosa received a warm welcome at the event from a province that has expressed its preference for him to succeed Zuma at the ANC’s conference next year.