Ekurhuleni – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa needs to recover all the money stolen through state capture.
“We now know, without any shred of uncertainty, that billions of rands of public resources have been diverted into the pockets of a few,” he said.
A defiant Ramaphosa delivered a message of support on Wednesday on behalf of the African National Congress at the South African Communist Party’s 14th congress, which is currently underway.
He said he would not be quiet when it came to the issue of state capture, urging others to speak out on about it as well.
Even though Ramaphosa did not name the Gupta family directly, he listed some of the claims which have surfaced linking the family to the plundering of state resources.
“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,” he said.
He also made an apparent reference to the lavish Gupta wedding which took place in Sun City after an unauthorised plane carrying the family’s guests landed at Waterkloof airbase, one of South Africa’s national key points.
The family’s links to President Jacob Zuma are well known.
The Gupta’s have been said to have undue influence over Zuma and some of the key decisions he has made – including the appointment of ministers and operations at state-owned enterprises.
Ramaphosa said, even though state capture seemed removed from most people’s lives, it was not.
‘Act with speed and purpose’
“These are resources that rightly belong to the people of South Africa. These are resources with which we were meant to build and maintain energy, rail and other infrastructure. These are resources with which we were meant to support emerging farmers, small businesses, black industrialists,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the looting of South Africa’s funds had already profoundly damaged the country’s economy, but that it was important to act fast in order to prevent more damage from being done.
“We need an independent judicial commission of inquiry with relevant terms of reference established without further delay. Our law enforcement agencies must act with speed and purpose to investigate all these allegations and bring those responsible to book,” he told delegates.
“We need to recover all the funds that have been stolen,” said Ramaphosa.
He warned that state capture, if left unchecked, would undermine the foundations of the country’s democracy.
Action against it, he said, needed to start with supporting and protecting state institutions.
“As the revolutionary democratic movement, as the alliance, we need to draw a line in the sand.
“We need to mobilise our structures and our supporters to oppose state capture and corruption in whatever form it takes,” said Ramaphosa.
‘It’s a shame’
He said they would not protect those within their ranks involved in state capture.
“We will not tolerate those who use our structures to defend these interests and misappropriate revolutionary slogans as a shield against critical scrutiny.”
Ramaphosa also hit out at London-based public relations firm Bell Pottinger, which recently dropped Gupta-owned Oakbay as a client.
He said it was concerning that a PR company outside of South Africa was able to poison the political discourse in order to advance its clients’ 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.
“Some of you were gullible enough that you were willing to die for those slogans. It’s a shame,” shouted Ramaphosa.
He told SACP delegates that they needed to take the lead in building cadres with analytical tools to understand the current political environment.