Ramaphosa on the warpath

Vows to ex­pose all in­volved in ‘il­licit busi­ness’

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BALD­WIN NDABA

DEPUTY Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the fight to the doorstep of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his al­lies, draw­ing a line in the sand in the bruis­ing bat­tle for con­trol of the ANC.

In an un­prece­dented at­tack on Zuma’s friends, the Gup­tas and the min­is­ters ac­cused of ben­e­fit­ing from the fam­ily, Ramaphosa vowed not to pro­tect any­one in his party ac­cused of “il­licit busi­ness deals” with the con­tro­ver­sial fam­ily.

Ramaphosa wants min­is­ters such as Mosebenzi Zwane and Faith Muthambi – re­cently ex­posed as hav­ing had links with the Gup­tas – to be charged and pros­e­cuted.

An em­bold­ened Ramaphosa told the congress of the SA Com­mu­nist Party that all the bil­lions al­legedly paid to the Gup­tas and their associated com­pa­nies had to be re­cov­ered im­me­di­ately and crim­i­nal ac­tions in­sti­tuted against them.

So in­censed was Ramaphosa that he de­manded the im­me­di­ate re­cov­ery of R30 mil­lion paid for the ex­pen­sive Gupta wed­ding at the Sun City re­sort in North West.

The mil­lions, be­long­ing to a dairy farm in the Free State, were al­legedly laun­dered through to Dubai and later chan­nelled back to South Africa, al­legedly to be used to pay for the wed­ding of one of the Gup­tas’ sons.

Ramaphosa, who em­pha­sised that he would not re­main silent on state cap­ture, said if in­sti­tu­tions were cap­tured by pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als, there would be noth­ing for the coun­try, and the ANC’s ef­forts would be de­railed.

With the ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber loom­ing, Ramaphosa turned the ta­bles on Zuma and his sup­port­ers just hours af­ter Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane had filed court pa­pers to sup­port the damn­ing “State of Cap­ture” re­port.

She op­posed Zuma’s move to ap­point a re­tired judge to head the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion into the mat­ter, which was against the rec­om­men­da­tions of for­mer pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela.

“Even as del­e­gates gath­ered (at the ANC pol­icy con­fer­ence) to de­lib­er­ate on th­ese is­sues, more and more in­for­ma­tion was emerg­ing about the ex­tent to which our sta­te­owned en­ter­prises have been looted, how in­di­vid­u­als in po­si­tions of re­spon­si­bil­ity have ben­e­fited from ac­tions that are, at best, un­eth­i­cal and, at worst, crim­i­nal,” said Ramaphosa.

“There is not a day that passes that we do not gain greater in­sight into a net­work of il­licit re­la­tion­ships, con­tracts, deals and ap­point­ments de­signed to ben­e­fit just one fam­ily and their as­so­ci­ates. We can­not turn a blind eye to th­ese rev­e­la­tions,” he added.

Call­ing on ANC mem­bers to act against state cap­ture, Ramaphosa said they could not, un­der the weight of more rev­e­la­tions, be­come numbed by what they mean for the coun­try.

“We now know with­out any shred of un­cer­tainty that bil­lions of rand in pub­lic re­sources have been di­verted into the pock­ets of a few.”

Ramaphosa said the coun­try could have used those bil­lions to build schools and clin­ics, main­tain en­ergy, rail and other in­fra­struc­ture as well as as­sist emerg­ing farm­ers and poor stu­dents in in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

He also said state cap­ture was un­der­min­ing the foun­da­tions of the coun­try’s democ­racy.

Ramaphosa slammed the Gup­tas’ for­mer pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany, Bell Pot­tinger, ac­cus­ing it of caus­ing con­fu­sion over the party’s stance on “mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal”.

“It is a mat­ter of grave con­cern that a pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany from out­side our coun­try (Bri­tain) was able to so ef­fec­tively poi­son our po­lit­i­cal dis­course to ad­vance their client’s nar­row in­ter­ests.

“It says much about our lack of po­lit­i­cal co­he­sion and ide­o­log­i­cal clar­ity that this com­pany, Bell Pot­tinger, was able to ma­nip­u­late some of our own po­lit­i­cal con­cepts to fuel divi­sion and con­fu­sion,” he said.

Ramaphosa added that “trag­i­cally, state cap­ture was al­ready dam­ag­ing the econ­omy, the state and the well-be­ing of South Africans, and ac­tion was needed now to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age.

“Our law en­force­ment agen­cies must act with speed and pur­pose to in­ves­ti­gate all th­ese al­le­ga­tions and bring those re­spon­si­ble to book.

“We need to re­cover all the bil­lions that have been stolen. Im­por­tantly, as the rev­o­lu­tion­ary demo­cratic move­ment, as the al­liance, we need to draw a line in the sand.”

Ramaphosa openly blamed his com­rades and the Gup­tas for the di­vi­sions, in­fight­ing and fac­tion­al­ism that have plagued the ANC, in­clud­ing the de­ci­sion of some in the SACP to force their party to con­test elec­tions on its own.

“At no other point in the his­tory of our move­ment has fac­tion­al­ism and divi­sion be­come so brazen, so pro­nounced, so con­fi­dent. There is an African proverb that says: ‘When broth­ers fight to the death, a stranger in­her­its the home.’

“To­day our home (the ANC) is plagued by sib­ling ri­valry, petty jeal­ousies and the sins of in­cum­bency. We know all too well some of the causes of th­ese ruc­tions within our house,” Ramaphosa said.

He cor­rob­o­rated ANC sec­re­tary­gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe’s di­ag­nos­tic re­port at the pol­icy con­fer­ence, which ended last week, that “the Gup­tas were milk­ing South Africa”.

Ramaphosa said Man­tashe’s re­port – to­gether with the dis­cus­sion doc­u­ments on strat­egy and tac­tics and or­gan­i­sa­tional re­newal – de­scribed how our struc­tures and pro­grammes have been un­der­mined by com­pe­ti­tion for re­sources, cor­rup­tion and the cap­ture of state in­sti­tu­tions by fam­i­lies, in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies.

LEAD­ERS of the SACP have had their hands full try­ing to man­age a re­volt by branches over a de­ci­sion to try to avoid a suc­ces­sion bat­tle by hav­ing the party’s boss, Blade Nz­i­mande, re­main in his po­si­tion for an­other term.

In­de­pen­dent Me­dia un­der­stands that an­other mat­ter that del­e­gates are up in arms over is that they want the party to con­test elec­tions on its own in­stead of cam­paign­ing for the ANC, a move that Nz­i­mande and the party’s of­fi­cials op­pose.

So an­gry are some del­e­gates from prov­inces such as the West­ern Cape that they de­cided that should the party’s sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Solly Ma­paila not con­test Nz­i­mande’s po­si­tion, they would nom­i­nate an­other can­di­date.

Nz­i­mande has been at the helm of the party for the past 19 years.

Al­though Ma­paila de­cided not to run against Nz­i­mande, he ap­pears to have been per­suaded to take the po­si­tion of first deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary, which was left va­cant by Jeremy Cronin.

The party’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions head Chris Matl­hako has been nom­i­nated to re­place Ma­paila.

Nz­i­mande re­mains in his post.

In the past two days of the party’s congress at the Birch­wood ho­tel in Boks­burg, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of del­e­gates have been singing songs in praise of Ma­paila.

This was while party of­fi­cials have had to con­vene pro­vin­cial sec­re­taries to try to en­sure the un­hap­pi­ness over the “man­age­ment” of a lead­er­ship con­tes­ta­tion does not flare up in the pres­ence of the me­dia and ex­pose the deep fis­sures over some is­sues in the party.

The party man­darins were wor­ried that a con­tes­ta­tion would weaken the party in the run-up to the ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber, while there was un­cer­tainty over Nz­i­mande’s fu­ture should for­mer AU Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma take over the gov­ern­ing party.

One del­e­gate who has at­tended SACP con­gresses since Nz­i­mande took over in 1998 said the con­fer­ence was more tense than the one where the leader as­cended to power.

“I haven’t seen such re­volt. The branches are un­happy,” he said.

It all started on Mon­day when Ma­paila an­nounced that he be­lieved Nz­i­mande should con­tinue in his post, while the party’s first deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary, Jeremy Cronin, said he was no longer avail­able to serve. This set tongues wag­ging. Open­ing the congress on Mon­day, Nz­i­mande in­ti­mated that he was aware that he had served his time and that he was “old fur­ni­ture”.

While Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa was ush­ered out of the venue, del­e­gates broke into a song, “thina si­funa i state power” (we want state power).

Of­fi­cials bat­tled to con­tain this bat­tle cry for state power, and at some point said Ma­paila should deal with the del­e­gates, who were mostly from Mpumalanga and the party’s youth wing, the Young Com­mu­nist League.

Ramaphosa pleaded with del­e­gates not to part ways with the ANC.

He warned that the two or­gan­i­sa­tions would be weaker if they con­tested elec­tions sep­a­rately.

“As you pon­der on leav­ing the al­liance, pause for a minute. Are we bet­ter off united or di­vided?

“You may even de­lude your­self that we will form a coali­tion (af­ter elec­tions), only when you get there, there will be noth­ing. The cup­board will be empty,” he said.

HARD-HIT­TING: Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa

PIC­TURE: NOKUTHULA MBATHA

PLEAD: ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa hugs Jessie Duarte at the SACP congress yes­ter­day.

PIC­TURE: ITUMELENG ENGLISH

CON­TEST: Se­nior SACP of­fi­cial Solly Ma­paila ad­dresses the me­dia dur­ing the party’s 14th na­tional congress.

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