African National Congress (ANC) National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe will take the stand at the Inquiry into State Capture on Tuesday. Mantashe, on behalf of party President, Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to answer questions relating to the testimonies of numerous witnesses.
These include former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former ANC Member of Parliament, Vtjie Mentor, former Public Enterprises Minister Barbra Hogan, as well as the country’s biggest banks.
Listening to testimony at the State Capture Inquiry over the last two months – it would appear that the ANC, as a party – is in the dock.
On Tuesday, it will present its side of the story, with National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe expected to present a report to the Commission.
“The testimony of Gwede Mantashe will answer specific issues of the banks and the testimony of Barbra Hogan,” says the ANC’s Head of Presidency, Zizi Kodwa.
Former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas testified that he revealed details of his meeting with the Guptas to then-ANC Treasurer General, Zweli Mkhize in January 2016.
Two months later, after reports in the media, he says the ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe encouraged him to release a media statement on the matter. It was in May of 2016 that the party launched its own probe into state capture – an initiative that never took off the ground.
“Eight people came forward, only one was prepared to make a written submission that made the exercise fruitless for us. Of the people who came forward… because we wanted to have those details, to say this is how this process was, but if people say, ‘We fear for ourselves, and we fear for our jobs if we come forward and disclose who we are, we may be targeted. So, please appoint an independent (inquiry)’ – and we say, go to the institution… there are institutions, those who think it may be risky to raise the issues with the ANC,” said Mantashe.
Former ANC MP, Vyjie Mentor was not so generous in her testimony, alleging that Mantashe and his Deputy Jesse Duarte did not take her seriously when she went to Luthuli House to report that she too had been offered a cabinet position by the Guptas.
Mantashe, however, has accused her of lying.
Another witness, former Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan, did not cover the ANC in glory, questioning the deployment committee of the ANC and how it influences the appointments of certain individuals.
“It’s not only Boards… There is a person like Sipho Maseko – He is already running a major parastatal. The share price has shot up since he took over. What are we saying to Sipho Maseko – a completely competent manager who has come flying through the tests that he is not good enough – because for some reason the ANC does not see (him) as one of them?” said Mantashe.
The rationale behind the ANC meeting with the executives of South Africa’s big four banks will also come under the spotlight.
They testified that Mantashe and the party’s Enoch Godongwana summoned them to Luthuli House to account for why they closed bank accounts linked to the Gupta family in April 2016.
FNB Chief Executive Officer Johan Burger says he was surprised.
“In my 32 years in banking, this was the first time ever I had received a request from a political party or from an inter-ministerial committee to want to discuss banker client relationships. That, to me, was unexpected. I really did not expect any third party to want to question that relationship between bank and client.”