The ANC’s National Chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, says the party was never captured by the Gupta family, but some ANC members were. He was giving evidence at the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg yesterday.
Mantashe has admitted that, there were stories in the media about individual ANC leaders being captured by the Guptas, but says it was purely individuals, and not the ANC as a whole. He insists that during his tenure as the Secretary General of the ANC, not once has a Gupta family member paid him a visit in his office at the party’s headquarters, Luthuli House.
“If any individual leaders of the ANC have found comfortable to be captured by the Guptas, those individuals were captured by the Guptas and not the ANC. There were stories around about individual leaders having been captured,” he said.
Mantashe rejected claims that the ANC – in the form of it’s provincial premiers – is directly involved in the affairs of the Judicial Service Commission. But, he agrees that the ANC would often encourage its cadres to apply for vacant positions within the judiciary. He says some do and some show no interest.
Mantashe told the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg that, there was never a case where the ANC influenced, in anyway how the judges and other members of the Judiciary should deal with cases, involving ANC leaders and members. “My understanding is that there are various divisions of the high court in various provinces, the involvement of those premiers in respect of appointments in those divisions in their provinces. There I don’t think there is a block vote by ANC representatives in the Judicial Services Council, I don’t think so, I don’t have evidence for that,” he explained.
Mantashe also denied having pressurised former Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan to appoint Siyabonga Gama as Transnet CEO, while he was the Secretary-General of the party.
During her evidence at the commission, Hogan said she was pressurised by Mantashe and former President Jacob Zuma to appoint Gama as CEO. Mantashe says he only asked why Gama wasn’t appointed to the position because he had potential.
“And therefor ask the question, here is a young professional who is doing well, why is he not given the opportunity – that was the question, and that question was never answered and I picked it up later that was a big issue out there. And Ms Hogan thought that I put pressure on her but the issue is that I personally asked that question, that’s why I am mentioned here because I asked that question,” he explained.
Part 2 of Mantashe’s testimony is in the video below:
Zuma’s first term
Mantashe described Zuma’s first term in office as a success. He says in 2009, the former president effected a number of changes in government which were positive.
Mantashe says during those times, as the ANC they could talk of an activist Parliament, because it would exercise it’s oversight role within all portfolio committees.
“As the Secretary General at the time, I regard the first term as successful, which includes 2009. He effected a lot of changes and one of those was to restructure education, split it into two because it was huge, including introducing the HIV program in the state which was very aggressive, he made changes that were position, that first term in my own view was quite an active first term,” he added.
The Minister of Mineral Resources and ANC chairperson wrapped his testimony last night.
Former Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, will assume the hot seat today to testify on the country’s land reform programme.