Members of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) should stop attacking State Capture Commission chairperson Raymond Zondo with immediate effect, President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned.Ramaphosa issued the warning at the end of the virtual ANC National Executive Committee meeting held on Tuesday.
Former President Jacob Zuma set up the commission following a recommendation by the country’s Ombudsman to look into state capture (corruption) in the country under Zuma’s nine-year rule that ended in February 2018 with his loss of the ANC’s leadership to Ramaphosa.
Zuma, who is a main witness to the inquiry, has, however, been reluctant to provide evidence during the hearings, insisting that he should be excused from taking to the witness stand due to perceived bias from Zondo.
This has led him to clash with Zondo, who has insisted that the former president should attend the meetings to provide his side of the story since most participants at the hearings had named him in their testimonies.
It is this insistence to force Zuma to attend the commission’s hearings that has divided the ANC – with some members supporting the commission’s chair and others openly attacking the Deputy Chief Justice for allegedly being biased against the former president.
Recently several party members, including members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (the ANC’s former armed wing), criticised the commission for laying a criminal complaint against Zuma for abruptly leaving the hearings because Zondo refused to recuse himself from chairing it as per the former president’s demand.
In his virtual warning, Ramaphosa reminded the ANC members that they, as a party, had all agreed to support and cooperate with the work of the commission until its work was completed.