Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was probably fired for refusing the alleged Gupta offer to take former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s position and a R600m bribe.
Speaking at a Chris Hani memorial lecture in Uitenhage on Sunday, Ramaphosa did not hold back as he laid into Zuma, saying allegations of state capture had to be probed.
“The allegations are so plentiful … that there are private individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement should be a matter of great concern to our movement.
“One time I went to greet an old man and he said to me: ‘I won’t call you deputy president, I will call you president’. I said: ‘Yoh, if you do that, you will cause the same fate that befell Mcebisi to fall on me too’.
“Mcebisi was offered the position of the minister of finance and they even offered him money and he refused. Today he is without a job. It’s possible he was fired for that … so I told the old man: ‘Don’t put me in that position, I might also be fired’,” Ramaphosa said to loud applause from the capacity crowd that packed the Babs Madlakane Hall.
Jonas has publicly accused the Gupta family of offering him Nene’s job and R600m.
In what was arguably his most outspoken speech since assuming the deputy presidency of the ANC in 2012, Ramaphosa said there was “an elephant in the room” which no one wants to talk about openly.
“I support the judicial commission of inquiry to look into this matter,” he said at what looked like the unofficial launch of his presidential campaign.
Speaking before Ramaphosa, Jonas denounced state capture, corruption and the theft of the entire country.