South Africa

Days of Zondo

State Capture Commission stands as a reality check for ANC and country – Mantashe

Gwede Mantashe delivered this opening statement on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) to the Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

I am the National Chairperson of the ANC and address the Commission on behalf of my organisation. When the ANC met the banks, I was the Secretary General.

At the outset I wish to put in context the importance of the work of this Commission and explain why all South Africans, both black and white, should embrace the Commission with open arms.

As the ruling party in government, the ANC carries the obligation to build a South African nation and a strong capable state. Since 1994 we have come to learn that there are no shortcuts or quick fixes to nation and state-building processes.

But the ANC exhorts all South Africans to persevere. We have to endure the pain and emotional trauma of building a nation with a single national identity out of the ashes of a racially-divided and inhumane past and we have to build a strong capable state from an exclusionary and illegitimate past.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission fulfilled an important role in the post-apartheid nation-building process. As a young democracy, we have achieved, in a relatively short period of 24 years, a degree of consensus on past cultural traditions, customs, symbols, rituals and the historical experiences of black and white people. This proved to be a strong indicator of the willingness of the different racial groups in our country to come together for the common good.

In just over two decades, we have succeeded in laying down a strong legislative and ethical framework of accountability and good governance that compares favourably to countries that have been in existence since the evolution of the state’s system more than 350 years ago.

The constitutional democracy and freedoms we enjoy today sit precariously on the sacrifices made by thousands of comrades who were exiled, imprisoned, maimed, bludgeoned to death and hanged.

We must jealously guard our victories and not allow anyone to drag us back to a racially-divided society where the rule of law was selectively used and where the majority of people existed as soulless, dehumanised individuals.

We should not shy away from our collective responsibility to protect our freedoms and we should not be deterred by fear.

Against this backdrop, this Commission stands as a reality check on:

  • How far we have progressed as a nation;

  • What values we are shaping for ourselves and bequeathing to future generations;

  • What lapses some members of the National Executive, past or present, suffered; and

  • Whether, as a nation, we have succumbed to the scourge of corruption.

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.

The ANC will make its submission to the Commission in four parts.

Today the ANC will respond to the evidence given by the banks, explain why it met the banks and what internal processes were followed thereafter.

At a future date, I will be given an opportunity to respond to comrade Barbara Hogan’s allegation that I improperly and/or unlawfully sought to use my political influence to interfere in the management of Transnet by insisting on the appointment of Mr Siyabonga Gama as a CEO of Transnet.

In the same session, I intend to deal with comrade Hogan’s remarks about the ANC’s Polokwane Conference and an allegation that I demanded that Mr Godsell should not be returned as Chairperson of the Eskom Board.

In her oral evidence which was not part of her written submission, comrade Hogan alleged that comrade Jessie Duarte, the Deputy Secretary General and a senior leader in the ANC, was part of State Capture and that comrade Ahmed Kathrada was poorly treated.

Comrade Hogan should be given an opportunity to withdraw or substantiate these allegations.

For her part, comrade Jessie Duarte is prepared to come before this Commission at any stage to rebut the allegation that she was part of State Capture and rebut any other allegation made against her.

The ANC believes that a key output of this Commission should be the relationship between Party and State. When the Commission makes time in the new year, the ANC will provide information about its Deployment Policy adopted by its National Executive Committee between January and July 1999 with specific reference to:

  • The Deployment Framework;

  • Guidelines for deployment to various centres;

  • Deployment and Human Resource Development;

  • Co-ordination of deployees;

  • Organisational culture of the ANC;

  • Guidelines on the relationship between constitutional structures of the ANC and government executives;

  • Guidelines on the role and criteria for ANC Premiers;

  • Criteria for the appointment of Premiers;

  • Fiftieth ANC National Conference resolution on Cadre Deployment Policy; and

  • Fifty-second ANC National Conference resolution on Organisational

In its final submission to the Commission, ANC President, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, 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.

To assist the work of the Commission, the ANC calls on all its members, who may have information on the under-mentioned Terms of Reference of the Commission, to come forward with such information:

  • Whether, to what extent and by whom attempts were made to influence members of the National Executive (including Deputy Ministers), office bearers, and/or functionaries employed by any state institution, organ of state or directors of the Boards of State-Owned Entities;

  • The nature and extent of corruption in the awarding of contracts, tenders to companies, business entities or organisations by public entities listed in Schedule 2 of the Public Finance Management Act;

  • Whether there were any irregularities, undue enrichment, corruption and undue influence in the awarding of contracts, mining licences, government advertising in the New Age newspaper and any other governmental services in the business dealings of the Gupta family with government departments and SOEs;

  • Whether any member of the National Executive and including Deputy Ministers, who unlawfully or corruptly or improperly intervened in the matter of the closing of banking facilities for Gupta-owned companies; and

  • The nature and extent of corruption in the awarding of contracts and tenders to companies by government departments in particular, whether any member of the National Executive (including the President), public official, functionary or any organ of state influenced the awarding of tenders to benefit themselves, their families or entities in which they held a personal interest.

Finally, the ANC calls on all its members to step up and answer allegations made against them at the Commission. DM


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