“I was as surprised as you are when I saw this morning’s statement.”
This was the reaction of Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Monitoring and Planning, at a Cabinet media briefing on Thursday.
Radebe was asked to give his view on Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s insistence that he had Cabinet’s backing when he issued a statement about a bank probe on September 1 this year.
City Press reported that Zwane maintained that the statement about a possible investigation into the banks that broke ties with the Gupta family was not sent out by him alone, but in his capacity as chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee.
Zwane claimed that Cabinet established a committee to consider allegations that certain banks and other financial institutions colluded when they closed the Guptas’ bank accounts and terminated business relationships with the family.
In response to a question posed by the DA’s David Maynier about whether he had authorisation to issue the statement, Zwane insisted that recommendations had been made to Cabinet by the inter-ministerial committee.
“The minister was not speaking in his personal capacity but in his capacity as chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee.”
Zwane’s utterances fly in the face of a statement issued by the presidency earlier this month, distancing itself from Zwane’s claims that a judicial inquiry would be established to investigate banks.
The presidency said at the time that Zwane’s comments in the original statement was “issued in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the task team or Cabinet”.
Radebe said at the media briefing that, although Zwane was present at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, his controversial statement was not part of the agenda.
“I myself only became aware of his answer this morning,” Radebe said.
“I want to re-iterate the statement issued by the Presidency after Minister Zwane’s statement on September 1. Those were his personal views and not that of the inter-ministerial committee or Cabinet. It is impossible that Cabinet could have seen the statement (beforehand). We saw it in the media.” — Fin24