Mantashe to face Zondo commission

The commission of inquiry into state capture continues on Tuesday, with ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe expected to address allegations against the governing party.

The ANC is expected to make submissions before the commission regarding evidence given by the country’s big four banks and Barbara Hogan, the former public enterprises minister.

Mantashe, who is currently the minister of mineral resources, will lead a delegation of ANC officials — including ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and ANC head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana — in responding to allegations made by the commission’s witnesses against the ANC.

In September, representatives from Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank and FNB, recounted the events surrounding the closure of Gupta-linked bank accounts in 2016. The closures came amid allegations the Gupta family had improper influence over then president Jacob Zuma.

READ MORE: Banks expose ANC intervention in Gupta account closures

The representatives told the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Raymond Zondo — that members of the ANC invited them to Luthuli House to discuss the closures. All but FNB attended the meetings at the ANC’s headquarters where they were allegedly asked whether or not they had colluded in the decision to close the Gupta-linked accounts.

General counsel for Standard Bank Ian Sinton alleged that at the meeting — attended by Mantashe, Duarte and Godongwana — the bank’s officials were asked if they were part of a campaign by white monopoly capital to drive away black business.

Nedbank chief executive Mike Brown told the commission the ANC officials at Luthuli House did not attempt to pressure the bank’s representatives into reversing their decision.

Hogan’s testimony further suggested that ANC officials had attempted to intervene on behalf of then president Jacob Zuma, who Hogan alleged attempted to meddle in board appointments at state-owned entities.

She told the commission that she experienced “enormous pressure” to approve the appointment of Siyabonga Gama as Transnet’s chief executive in 2009, despite the fact that he was undergoing a disciplinary process for misconduct in his capacity as the entity’s freight rail chief executive.

READ MORE: ‘ANC tried to force my hand in Gama matter’ — Hogan

According to Hogan, Zuma was adamant that Gama be appointed. He was backed by then Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and then Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda. Radebe reportedly said at the time that Gama’s suspension was a “miscarriage of justice”.

A number of other organisations, including the ANC Youth League, the South African Communist Party and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union were in support of Gama at the time.

Hogan explained that she was cast as an “anti-transformation racist”. “I expected more from my colleagues,” she said. “I saw the lengths then that people would go … to destroy other people … I expected the president to protect me.”

Last Friday, the ANC’s head of presidency Zizi Kodwa told media the party has been embarrassed by these testimonies.

“Some of the revelations at the commission are embarrassing, we will deal with that. If there is a need to own up and take responsibility, we will do that,” Kodwa said.

Tuesday’s proceedings are set to begin at 9am. 

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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