South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry into alleged state capture by the Indian Gupta family.

Allegations that there are individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement decisions should be a matter of great concern, Ramaphosa said while addressing a Chris Hani memorial lecture in Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth. Hani, former leader of the South African Communist Party, was murdered in 1993 for opposing the apartheid regime.

Ramaphosa said the alleged state capture could destroy the ruling African National Congress (ANC) if such a practice is not stopped. “They threaten the integrity of the state, undermine our economic progress and diminish our ability to change the lives of our people,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC, he said, should address the challenges it is facing, otherwise it would continue to lose support among its members, and potentially lose control of the country in upcoming elections. The wealthy Guptas, which reportedly keeps close ties with President Jacob Zuma and his family, allegedy exercised undue influence on Zuma in the appointments of cabinet ministers and CEOs of state-owned enterprises.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a state capture report last year, calling for establishing a judicial commission of inquiry into the matter. Ramaphosa said he supports the idea of setting up a commission of inquiry. If there was any wrongdoing it should be exposed, he said. He urged the ANC to support the establishment of an effective, credible mechanism to investigate the claims.”We know there is an elephant in the room, but we don’t want to talk about it,” he said.

Source: Xinhua/