African National Congress (ANC) national chairperson Gwede Mantashe says any board chairperson of a State-Owned Entity who approaches the party, seeking intervention on corruption-related issues indicates that they do not know their job.

He was responding to evidence given to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture by Popo Molefe, the former chairperson of the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Molefe told the Commission that during his tenure at Prasa, he had reported corruption at the organisation to the ANC, and asked for intervention – but to no avail.

Below is Popo Molefe’s testimony at the State Capture Commission:

‘Chairperson didn’t know his role’

He told the Commission that Gwede Mantashe, who was then Secretary-General of the ANC, did not heed his call for intervention in solving corruption challenges at the agency.

But Mantashe says there is no way a political party will get involved in the affairs at a state entity, while there are structures that are set up to deal with corruption.  He says if a board chairperson could do that, it means they did not know how to do their job.

“Any board that expects a political party to come to an entity and intervene on issues of corruption and all of that – it means that chairperson didn’t know his role. The reason why we appoint boards is because there must be no political structure that goes to Prasa and intervenes because there is a board and there’ll be a line ministry.”

On the latest developments in the ANC in Limpopo, Mantashe says all party internal consultative processes had taken place before a decision was communicated to the two senior ANC officials from that province. Danny Msiza and Florence Radzilani, former Vhembe Executive Mayor have been reinstated to the party.

They were suspended after they reportedly benefited from the VBS Mutual Bank scandal which saw billions of rands looted from the bank. Mantashe says the ANC structures deliberated on the matter and came to a conclusion, which is now public knowledge.

“Structures are not structures of water, you see if it was water you pour it down and it moves to one direction. When it is human beings, they think, debate, argue and come to a decision. And one of the disciplines of being in an organisation is to appreciate that when a decision is taken even if you disagreed with it – it is your decision, it is called loyalty to your decision.” In the video below, Gwede Mantashe says a party cannot interfere in SOE matters :  

Coronavirus cases in mines

Meanwhile, speaking to the SABC News, Mantashe, who is also the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, says there is nothing out of the ordinary that the COVID-19 infections in certain mines of the country continue to rise.  He says this is a societal problem that needs to be addressed by conducting more tests and quarantining those who are positive.

“But if you take those numbers and locate them to the overall number of more than 150 000 cases in the country, you are going to begin to appreciate that it is nothing extra-ordinary, but mineworkers must be tested. And the importance of testing is that you are not covering upon the extent of the problem that we have in the country and in the mines.”

However, Mantashe says he would agree to a staggering return to a stricter lockdown if Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, was to initiate it in a further bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.