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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing academics and professionals in Sandton, Johannesburg. Credit: enca

South African Leader Protests Corporate Influence

NEW YORK | JOHANNESBURG (IDN | GIN) - South Africans are rising up against the outsized influence of corporate entities and wealthy individuals allegedly doling out contracts and jobs within the African National Congress (ANC).

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, at a recent event, rebutted the charge, declaring the ANC was not for sale and anyone who wanted to capture the state should “go next door”.

Speaking to about 1,500 professionals and academics at the ANC event in Sandton on March 23, Ramaphosa declared: “Those who want to capture the ANC and influence it to advance personal or corporate interests, you have come to the wrong address. Try next door. We will not be captured.”

A South Asian family close to the president who allegedly peddled jobs within the government was not the only one exploiting their connections, he added. “There are a number of others as well, and we are saying to all and sundry, stop in your tracks, we will not allow that.”

But questions continue to be raised including at a seminar hosted by the Association of Public Administration and Management. Political influence by corporate entities and wealthy individuals is “at pornographic levels,” said businessman and policy analyst FM Lucky Mathebula. “That is why we hear calls of the removal of the president and regime change.”

Political analyst professor at the University of Pretoria, Tinyiko Maluleka, said state capture was “insidious,” and became entrenched over time. “The idea that two or three people capture the state in one day is useless,” said Maluleka.

Former African National Congress Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola said the problem was not just corruption.

“This is about democracy where unelected people are able to influence the decision to appoint ministers… “This is kleptocracy,” he added, “where a few elites are able to control and direct the state, a serious subversion of democracy.”

The group Equal Education released a statement calling state capture by the rich and powerful "a mortal threat to democracy" and pledged to join a “week of outrage” with other movement groups. "When our democratic state is put into the top pocket of a few rich people" then "the working class and the unemployed, the poor and the historically looted – the black majority – are attacked and further looted."

Meanwhile, President Zuma's daughter, Thuthukile Zuma, a recent graduate in anthropology, has been awarded a high profile tender as a supplier to a prominent local company involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. Just prior to this, Thuthukile was the chief of staff in the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services. [International Press Syndicate – 29 March 2016]

Photo: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing academics and professionals in Sandton, Johannesburg. Credit: enca

IDN is flagship of the International Press Syndicate.