President Cyril Ramaphosa will no longer attend the State Capture Inquiry for his second round of testimony, it has been revealed on Thursday. The head of state was due to return to the Zondo Commission on Monday 31 May, giving his final round of evidence on Tuesday 1 June. However, both dates have been wiped from the calendar.
The State Capture Inquiry is yet to provide a reason for why the president is now unable to attend the session. The panel have seen a number of witnesses – including Dudu Myeni and Jacob Zuma – ignore their summons to appear in front of Zondo, but the issue with Ramaphosa seems to be something a little more formal.
Ramaphosa’s testimony is significant for a multitude of reasons, but taking his position of power to one side, the 68-year-old was also meant to be the last witness who appeared at the Commission. The Inquiry team is wrapping up its verbal submissions, as they scramble to produce a finalised report of state capture itself.
For many, Ramaphosa is the missing puzzle piece. He served as the deputy president during Jacob Zuma’s presidency – and the administration was filled with people implicated in acts of state-sponsored corruption. Cyril denies being aware of any wrongdoing at the time, but critics have often asked if the ANC leader knows more than he is letting on.
The announcement was made just after 14:00. DCJ Zondo has not given anything away, stating only that ‘further information will be communicated in due course’. Of course, it is quite possible Ramaphosa could be preoccupied next week – as Cabinet confirmed that the president is preparing for his next ‘family meeting’.
COVID-19 cases are soaring in South Africa, and we are expecting tighter lockdown laws to come into play. Whether this is directly linked to President Ramaphosa pulling out of the State Capture Inquiry remains to be seen. The DCJ and his team are yet to confirm when – or even if – Cyril will return to face the music once more.