Professor Ivor Sarakinsky of the Wits School of Governance has described as significant President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to have the affidavit he has submitted to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture made public.

The Commission on Friday released Ramaphosa’s affidavit on his engagements with the Gupta brothers.

In the affidavit, Ramaphosa says he saw the Gupta brothers two or three times at events, but that he only had a meeting with them in 2016 to discuss the closure of their bank accounts.

Sarakinsky says Ramaphosa has been advised to come clean.

“I think what the President’s advisors have done is (they) said (to him) ‘let’s be ultra-cautious now. Let’s go through your diary and let’s identify every event and let’s put that on public record so that no one can say you were lying; you deceived us; you misinformed us.’

“I think they are trying to manage the discussion of the now President who at the time was the Deputy President, who did meet with a whole range of role-players in terms of government business,” Sarakinsky explains.

‘Environment of fear’

Reflecting on the ANC National Executive Committee leader Derek Hanekom’s admission that he met with EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, Professor Sarakinsky says what is happening on the country’s political scene is creating an environment of fear, in which parties will be afraid of coming together to discuss confidential and sensitive issues.

The ANC is holding its regular National Executive Committee meeting in Irene, Pretoria this week. The meeting is expected discuss the issue of Hanekom.

Sarakinsky says parties will now think twice about holding constructive discussions that can benefit of the country.

“It’s not unusual and it happens all the time in Parliament and in other circles. Because on various issues, parties have to collaborate. A single party can’t drive an issue on its own. So you always have these informal engagements and consultations and what keeps things moving is confidentiality.”