Fri, 23 Aug 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa took on the challenge DA leader Mmusi Maimane's posed to him by stating that he is "willing and able" to appear before the Zondo Commission into state capture.

Ramaphosa also pointed out that his efforts to root out corruption is facing resistance.

During the debate on the Presidency's budget debate on Wednesday, Maimane said: "If you were the man in the arena, Mr President, then the revelations at the Zondo Commission would have spurred you into action. But yet we see nothing from you."

Maimane said former president Jacob Zuma's testimony before the commission earlier the week is "either that of a deranged man, or he was part of a team that worked to destroy our nation".

"Don't you owe it to this House to return here tomorrow and assure us that you will go to the commission and set the record straight?" Maimane said.

"We need a president who acts, not one who sits idly by."

Ramaphosa responded to the debate on Thursday. Ramaohosa said he is willing and able to appear before the commission.

"The fight against corruption will not be successful unless all South Africans are involved," Ramaphosa said.

He said the fight against corruption requires citizens to act and to see justice done.

Ramaphosa said the rule of law must be reinforced and the institutions fighting corruption must be fair.

"These institutions must investigate corruption and state capture," he said.

He said it is not the responsibility of the presidency to investigate corruption, a competency of the police, Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority.

"The presidency cannot interfere in any way whatsoever in the work these institutions are doing," he said.

"If you expect the president to go and arrest somebody, it is not going to happen."

Ramaphosa said in their endeavours to root out corruption, they "will continue to encounter resistance from those who benefited from wrongdoing".

He said they must remain strong.

He also defended State Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan against the "extraordinary attack" by EFF leader Julius Malema the day before.

"I have appointed him to a critical and demanding position in Cabinet because I know him to be a person of commitment and integrity. He has endured and withstood extreme pressure, both under apartheid and in the democratic era. He's been under pressure to abandon principle and to forsake his responsibility to this nation," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa also reiterated that if Gordhan, or any member of his administration, has something for which they must answer, without any exception they must be hauled before a court to account.

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