Mantashe — ANC will protect the Zondo commission at all costs
President Cyril Ramaphosa will address what action the ANC took to combat state capture and why it failed to intervene when it should have done so, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Tuesday.
At the beginning of his testimony, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe announced the governing party’s plans to address wide-ranging allegations made at the commission, including assertions its members lobbied on behalf of Gupta interests and the personal interests of former president Jacob Zuma.
Reading an opening statement to the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — Mantashe said the ANC would make its submissions in four parts.
Mantashe — who appeared before the commission on behalf of the ANC — said the commission must be safeguarded by the party. He attended the commission with a delegation including ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and the party’s head of economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana.
“In the view of the ANC, this is probably the singular most important reason for the establishment of this Commission and equally the primary reason why all South Africans should protect the Commission at all costs,” Mantashe said.
On Monday, the party will respond to allegations it improperly attempted to intervene in the closures of Gupta-linked bank accounts in 2016.
At a later stage, Mantashe will address former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan’s testimony in which she claimed he unlawfully sought to use his political influence to interfere in the management of Transnet by insisting on the appointment of Siyabonga Gama as its chief executive in 2009.
Hogan told the commission she had experienced “enormous pressure” to approve the appointment Gama, despite the fact that he was undergoing a disciplinary process for misconduct in his capacity as the entity’s freight rail chief executive. This pressure allegedly came from senior ANC members, including Mantashe, and the party’s allies.
In the same session, Mantashe said he will deal with Hogan’s suggestion that he demanded that Bobby Godsell should not be returned as the chairperson of the Eskom board. In her testimony, Hogan alleged Mantashe said: “If the black guy goes, the white guy must also go” — a reference to former Eskom chief executive Jacob Maroga and Godsell.
According to the statement, Duarte will also give evidence before the commission “at any stage to rebut the allegation that she was part of state capture and rebut any other allegation made against her”.
Mantashe added that the ANC will also present evidence on its cadre deployment policy, which Hogan also raised during her testimony.
“It became apparent during my time and we see it later in statements by the ANC NEC [national executive committee] and NWC [national working committee] that they saw [deployment policy] as their right to instruct a minister,” Hogan said.
“I regarded this as an abuse of power and usurping the authority of the minister and the Constitution.”
Mantashe continued saying, in the ANC’s final submission, Ramaphosa himself “will respond to a broad set of issues relating to the ANC which arose in evidence before the Commission and will explain what action the ANC took and why it omitted to intervene in circumstances when it should or could have done so”.
In its statement, the party implored its members to approach the commission if they have any information relating to allegations of state capture.