Zuma ‘sold SA to Guptas’ – Ramatlhodi
FORMER mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi yesterday gave explosive evidence at the commission of inquiry into state capture, likening former president Jacob Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas to ‘auctioning off his executive authority’.
Ramatlhodi told the commission headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Zuma gave executive authority to third parties.
‘“That is the biggest sin he committed,” he said.
Ramatlhodi said the governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) asked Zuma in vain what he was doing with the controversial family.
“These people are my friends they helped my children when I was persona non grata by giving them work,” Ramatlhodi recalled Zuma telling NEC members.
He said some of the things Zuma was doing were irrational and his proximity to the Guptas, and the damage it was doing to him and the ANC,was discussed not once in the ANC, but several times.
“We did not know the hold they had over him. The Guptas were like a python wrapped around Zuma,” the former Limpopo premier testified.
According to Ramatlhodi, Zuma failed the country and had to leave before he did more damage.
He testified that the rot started after Zuma’s re-election at the ANC’s national conference in December 2012.
Zuma, according to Ramatlhodi, had a very strong faction in the NEC and some of them were beneficiaries of state capture.
“He had too much power in the NEC. That period was a season of madness in the organisation. The balance of power was in his favour,” he said, adding that the NEC under Zuma was paralysed.
Ramatlhodi was removed as mineral resources minister in September 2015 following his defiance of the Guptas and their associates and “promoted” to the public service and administration portfolio as Zuma described.
He had refused requests to meet Ajay Gupta at the insistence of the former president’s son Duduzane Zuma.
Duduzane and former Eskom chairperson Dr. Ben Ngubane intend applying for leave cross-examine Ramatlhodi, who has implicated both of them.