Former African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Carl Niehaus says he told former president Jacob Zuma that having Cyril Ramaphosa as his then deputy was a decision he would live to regret.
Ramaphosa was elected deputy president of the ANC at the party’s 53rd national conference which was held at the University of the Free State in Mangaung in December 2012.
In a conversation with Nkululeko n Cultr on Monday, Niehaus said he was opposed to the decision and made sure to let Zuma know.
“Ramaphosa’s deputy presidency is a sore point for me and Zuma and those who were responsible for having decided to bring Ramaphosa back know my views. In 2012 when he was nominated to come in as deputy president, I had a bit of a problem because Ggalema Motlanthe was not playing the game and suddenly he was standing against Zuma and there was now a vacancy that had to be filled,” said Niehaus.
“I was fundamentally opposed to the nomination of Cyril Ramaphosa. The day he was elected at Mangaung conference I went on to the stage and I said to president Zuma: ‘I am out of here’. I didn’t stay for his closing speech, I left. I said to him, not in a disrespectful way, I was very concerned: ‘This is the worst decision you have ever taken and you will live to regret it’, and I left. I worked with Cyril Ramaphosa when he was secretary-general when I was spokesperson; he’s self-centred,” said a suspended Niehaus, who said the ANC would never “disown” him.
He further lamented the apparent silence of civil society organisations on allegations against Ramaphosa, saying it was proof they were being funded by white monopoly capitals.
“Civil society organisations are quiet on Ramaphosa because they are funded by big white monopoly capitals to get rid of Zuma, not because he had committed crimes but because he saw the need for economic empowerment for black people. This is why he was targetted. They should be ashamed of themselves. Unlike Ramaphosa’s crimes, Zuma’s were fabricated. He admitted there was a robbery at his farm and civil society is quiet.”
Ramaphosa has increasingly come under public pressure to come clean on the robbery at his Phala Phala farm that took place in February 2020, after former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid a criminal complaint against him in June of money laundering, kidnapping and corruption.
Fraser alleged that the president was involved in an elaborate cover-up of the crime after criminals – allegedly working in cahoots with his domestic worker – broke into his property and stole millions of US dollars in cash.
He further claimed that the suspects were subsequently kidnapped, interrogated and bribed to keep quiet.
While Ramaphosa said he would cooperate with investigations, he denied any criminality on his part and maintained that the crime was reported to the Presidential Protection Unit.