With the inquiry into state capture due to reconvene this week after the December break, as well as the 2019 elections in the near future, things are bound to be a political spectacle
The commission has recently announced that hearings will resume this week and, according to a press release, an application of a ‘procedural nature’ will be heard on Tuesday.
This application will handle evidence due to be heard by the commission in the nearby future.
The last few weeks of the proceedings in 2018 saw the ANC facing allegations of high ranking officials of the party implicated in a plot to capture the country under ex-president Jacob Zuma.
The former president, as well as 12 other Cabinet members ( both current and former), has allegedly been sent 3.3 notices by the commission’s legal team. These documents are served on people implicated by witnesses.
Late last year the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe led a delegation to outline the ruling party’s plans to give its version of events in 2019.
With the national elections due in May, the party will most likely continue its efforts to wash its hands of corruption from Zuma’s reign.
Mantashe explained to the commission that he will be addressing ex-public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan’s testimony where she had claimed he had illegally sought to use his political influence to control the management of Transnet. According to Hogan, Mantashe had insisted on the appointment of Siyabonga Gama as the state-owned entity’s chief executive in 2009.
The ex-minister had explained that she had been under ‘enormous pressure’ to approve the appointment, despite Gama facing disciplinary processes for misconduct at Transnet in his capacity as freight rail chief executive.
This pressure had allegedly been exerted by senior ANC officials, including Mantashe and allies of the party.
According to a statement released early in Mantashe’s testimonies, Duarte is expected to submit evidence before the commission “to rebut the allegation that she was part of state capture and rebut any other allegation made against her”.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to present the party’s final submission to ‘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’.
Mantashe has also denied allegations that the party had tried to stop the closure of Gupta-linked bank accounts in 2016. It had emerged during testimony given by banks in September that officials from ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank had been ‘summoned’ to ANC headquarters to explain their decision to cut the infamous family loose.
Focused on understanding the scale of the ruling party’s attempts to prevent state capture, Justice Raymond Zondo had encouraged Mantashe to testify to the attitude of the ANC towards the alleged control the family had over leaders.
Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a former member of the ex-president’s Cabinet, had told the commission that the ANC NEC ( National Executive Committee) was in chaos due to the Gupta’s control over its members.
Ramatlhodi had spoken of one factions advantage because of the ex-president’s power within the NEC. The ‘imbalance’ of control had allowed Zuma to ‘disregard the flow of debate … and arrive at his own conclusion’.
Ramatlhodi had described this as the ‘season of madness’, saying that it had reached its peak following the ANC elective conference in 2012, where Zuma had been re-elected for a second term as leader of the ANC.
Ramatlhodi described the 2017 elective conference which saw Ramaphosa elected, to change this imbalance. ‘A faction grows like a tree, it has roots. So you have to uproot it,’ he had said, continuing on to say that factionalism within the NEC had been fuelled by a system which started at the top of the chain of command.
The ‘clean-up crew’ Ramaphosa had tasked with sorting through the chaos the had led to this point in time has not been immune to implications in state capture, with some key members of his Cabinet being pushed to take accountability for their own ties to the Guptas.
One of the most high-profile casualties of the commission has been ex-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. He had been forced to admit that he had met with the Gupta family numerous times. This was in spite of the fact the ex-minister having denied ever meeting with the Guptas. This development had seen Nene swiftly resigning from his position.
In the wake of this, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had to fend off allegations that he had been dishonest regarding his own meetings with the Gupta family.
Gordhan had told the commission that he had not disclosed a 2010 meeting with Anil Ambani ( an Indian businessman) in response to a Parliamentary question as he had not been certain if the meeting had been attended by a Gupta brother.
The Minister had maintained that he had not lied about the meeting, saying that: ‘If I wanted to lie I could have left this meeting out,’
Gordhan had insisted that he was ‘not for sale’, pointing out that there had been numerous efforts to get him to meet with the family, which he had refused.
Briefly.co.za has previously reported that the Economic Freedom Fighters had staged a 3-day protest outside of the commission while Gordhan had given his testimony.
Julius Malema, leader of the party, had addressed a crowd of supporters on the second day, condemning Gordhan and Ramaphosa as well as accusing the media and commission of assisting the ANC’s agenda.
Malema maintained that his party had been the frontrunners of bringing the commission to life, adding that the party is preparing to testify against Gordhan, implicating him in corruption.
Even the president will be subjected to the commission, with the Democratic Alliance vowing to request a probe into the function of Jeffrey Afriat as a non-executive director of Gupta-linked Trillian Capital as well as administrator of Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign fund.
The DA claims that Ramaphosa’s campaign had been linked to Afriat. The leader of the party, Mmusi Maimane said in a statement that:
“Afriat resigned as Trillian director shortly before the Budlender Inquiry into Trillian was launched. These are not wild allegations, they are just facts, and they are worthy of further exploration by an independent inquiry.”
The presidential campaign fund had been administered by Edelstein which had denied Maimane’s claims concerning Afriat, saying he had never been involved in the activities at the company, only serving as a non-executive director at Trillian between March and November 2016.
In response to the DA’s allegations, Afriat has announced plans to begin legal proceedings against the party as well as it’s leader.
The Democratic Alliance has been unforgiving towards the president, condemning the apparent unwillingness of Ramaphosa to own up to his own part in state capture before the commission. Maimane maintains that:
“ There is no conceivable way Mr Ramaphosa had no knowledge of the wholesale corrupt capture of the ANC and of National Government and its entities”
This is in reference to Ramaphosa’s time as deputy president of the ANC from 2012 and deputy president of South Africa from 2014.
Briefly.co.za reported yesterday that the notorious Black First Land First party will also be making an appearance before the inquiry. The Deputy president of the party is expected to testify against both Nene and Gordhan on the 12th of February.
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