South Africans might not be clear who in the ANC is winning the battle, but there is little doubt that it is the people of the country who are losing, writes Howard Feldman.
Former president Jacob Zuma is appearing for a second day at the commission of inquiry.
Former president Jacob Zuma and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba greet as Zuma leaves the commission.
(PIC: Pieter du Toit)
Adv Muzi Sikhakhane jumps in and requests that we adjourn for the day.
Pretorius says he has no objection.
"It has been a strenuous day," he says.
The commission adjourns.
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius is reading Hogan's statement @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/tUcut85Hxt— Azarrah Karrim (@azarrahk) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius is reading Hogan's statement @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/tUcut85Hxt
More on Barbara Hogan's testimony, now being put to Zuma:
Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan said former president Jacob Zuma "hung her out to dry" while she faced immense pressure from some of her colleagues who wanted her to appoint Siyabonga Gama as Transnet CEO.
She testified that Zuma wanted Gama as the group CEO of Transnet, despite him facing allegations of misconduct.
"It actually shocked me," Hogan said.
Catch up on Hogan's testimony here:
Pretorius to Zuma: One of the issues dealt with at the commission is how the leaders of various state owned entities are appointed.
This is in relation to the former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan's evidence.
Meanwhile, the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national council has slammed former president Jacob Zuma's allegations against its national chairperson, Siphiwe Nyanda, and ex-combatant, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, calling Zuma a liar.
Zondo wants to know why Zuma thinks Mentor would make this up.
Zuma says he doesn't know.
Zondo now questions Zuma.
He says that according to Mentor, Zuma even walked her out after the incident at Saxonwold, where Ajay Gupta offered her the public enterprises ministry in exchange for her help with cancelling the SAA SA-India flight route.
Mentor says Zuma helped her with her back and wanted to calm her down.
"No recollection at all. None whatsoever," Zuma.
Are you positive it never happened? asks Zondo.
"Yes," says Zuma.
This is what Vytjie said about the Hawks complaint.
#StateCaptureInquiry this was Mentor's submission after she laid the complaint. She said she had to take Zuma's name out of it so that the Hawks would investigate. Zuma says he doesn't want to comment on this because he doesn't know the cause of it (@azarrahk) pic.twitter.com/xDAiIaBFk0— Team News24 (@TeamNews24) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry this was Mentor's submission after she laid the complaint. She said she had to take Zuma's name out of it so that the Hawks would investigate. Zuma says he doesn't want to comment on this because he doesn't know the cause of it (@azarrahk) pic.twitter.com/xDAiIaBFk0
Zuma's lawyer, Dan Mantsha is now interjecting.
He says that the Hawks officer concerned wants to cross-examine Mentor on her evidence and Zuma must be told that the issue is disputed.
Zondo asks Sikhakhane who is the leader of Zuma's legal team to address him. Sikhakhane says we can proceed.
Masuku says the impression must not be given that the Hawks have said this, and that it is Mentor's version.
Pretorius says he thought that was clear.
Pretoruis reiterates that he is inviting Zuma to make a comment on the allegation that the Hawks said they would not investigate a complaint with his name in it.
Zuma says "let me not comment because I don't know what is the cause of that".
Masuku for Zuma intervenes.
Pretorius wants to know whether this conduct is acceptable - that Zuma's name was removed from the complaint. Pretorius wants to know if Zuma wants to comment or has a view.
Zuma, "No, I've got no idea what's happening here."
Pretorius says that Mentor said she tried to lay charges with the Hawks over the incident regarding the Guptas. She says she was told that they could not investigate with Zuma's name in the complaint.
Mentor removed his name from the complaint.
Zuma says he was never informed that a complaint was laid which involved him.
The commission resumes.
Pretorius is still questioning Zuma on Vytjie Mentor's evidence.
PIC: Zuma being shown a copy of the enlarged text documents he was supposed to have received during the lunch break.
(Pic: Pieter du Toit)
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius asks if the Presidency statement of March 2016 was ever corrected but is stopped by Zondo, who indicates Zuma has said it was correct at the time of issues. He later remarks to Zuma, "It seems you and I are the only ones getting along in this room."— Erin Bates (@ermbates) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius asks if the Presidency statement of March 2016 was ever corrected but is stopped by Zondo, who indicates Zuma has said it was correct at the time of issues. He later remarks to Zuma, "It seems you and I are the only ones getting along in this room."
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo: she is suggesting that this idea that you couldn't recall her is not true. Zuma: When I was asked first I couldn't remember, only later did I remember. She is exaggerating, it's not true that she was sitting next to me [at the caucus] @TeamNews24— Azarrah Karrim (@azarrahk) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Zondo: she is suggesting that this idea that you couldn't recall her is not true. Zuma: When I was asked first I couldn't remember, only later did I remember. She is exaggerating, it's not true that she was sitting next to me [at the caucus] @TeamNews24
Pretorius points to Mentor's rebuttal.
Mentor listed numerous instances where Zuma and she interacted - in Parliament's caucus and in a number of other political forums. She implies there is no way that Zuma did not remember her, and says former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe would never deny knowing her.
Zuma disagrees with some of the detail, that they sat next to each other for example.
Zondo says the gist of the matter is that she says there is no way that Zuma did not recall her. In fact, Zuma must have known her very well, Zondo says.
Zuma lets out a small chuckle.
There is some confusion over the document which Pretorius wants to use.
Pretorius says a copy of the document which larger text for Zuma to read was given to Zuma's legal team to give to the former president to read over lunch.
It appears as though Zuma did not receive it and now the copy he has has small text, which he cannot read.
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius deals with a Presidency statement released on Mentor's social media comments. Zuma says he didn't know, at the time, that they were speaking about Mentor but came to realise who she was. @TeamNews24— Azarrah Karrim (@azarrahk) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius deals with a Presidency statement released on Mentor's social media comments. Zuma says he didn't know, at the time, that they were speaking about Mentor but came to realise who she was. @TeamNews24
The Zondo commission resumes.
Pretorius now turns to a statement issued by the Presidency during Zuma's term. The presidency had received a number of enquiries from the press about statements made by Vytjie Mentor on social media.
In the statement, the Presidency rejected her allegations about the Guptas.
Zuma says at the time he did not recall who Mentor was. Other than that, the statement is correct, Zuma says.
COMMENT: Zuma’s morning testimony: What you should know
1. A dramatic start, with claims by Zuma of death threats against him and his children as well as against his lawyer, Muzi Sikhakane.
2. Pretorius led questions about Zuma's recollection of events surrounding the dismissal of Themba Maseko, former GCIS head, and allegations of the Guptas soliciting government advertising.
3. Zuma’s legal team furiously objected to Pretorius’ line of questioning, saying it amounted to cross-examination and that the commission is not designed for that.
4. An agreement was reached according in which Zuma’s team will cooperate with the process and Pretorius will frame his questions more clearly.
5. Two important statements are now on the record: Zuma denied that he was involved in the dismissal of Maseko, and denied that the Guptas were ever involved in, or ever spoke to him about ministerial appointments.
- Pieter du Toit
COMMENT: The ANC's secretary general Ace Magashule has been the most high profile attendee at today's proceedings. Sitting between Dakota Legoete, a party spokesperson, and Carl Niehaus, who works in Magashule's office, he has been listening intently to his former boss's testimony. He has also given an impromptu press conference, telling journalists that Zuma's allegations of spies in the ANC are "serious" and needs to be investigated.
But it's his mere presence that's intriguing. During a tea break, he went to speak to Advocate Muzi Sikhakane, Zuma's counsel, who gave him a bear hug and kept his left hand on Magashule's shoulder for almost the entirety of the conversation.
And then he joined Zuma in the holding room for a private audience. As he did after the state of the nation address at Parliament recently, it looks like he wants to be seen, like he wants to be visible. He takes great care in greeting certain people, making sure the media sees it and moving about slowly and deliberately. Magashule remains cunning and calculating. - Pieter du Toit
#StateCaptureInquiry Zuma's response to this, "they were discussing, the two of them, I had nothing to do with it," he laughs. Pretorius asks if, according to this allegation, Gupta ever speak to him about an appointment of a minister. Zuma says never. (@azarrahk)— Team News24 (@TeamNews24) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Zuma's response to this, "they were discussing, the two of them, I had nothing to do with it," he laughs. Pretorius asks if, according to this allegation, Gupta ever speak to him about an appointment of a minister. Zuma says never. (@azarrahk)
Zondo asks if Zuma was ever at the Gupta residence at the same time as Mentor.
Pretorius repeats. It's not about their discussion - it's about whether Gupta ever spoke to Zuma about an appointment into a ministerial position.
"No, never," Zuma says.
Zuma is asked to respond.
Zuma laughs and says the conversation was between Mentor and Gupta, how can he comment?
For clarity's sake, Pretorius says its not about commenting on what the two of them discussed, but to raise the "factual" question arising that Gupta thought he could talk to you about ministerial appointments. Is that correct?
"No. That's why I'm saying... I'm not there, I don't know why they had that discussion."
Pretorius: Mentor says that immediately after his statements about the SA - India route, Ajay Gupta casually offered her the position of minister of public enterprises, if he agreed to lose SAA's SA - India route.
Mentor says it is an "understatement" that she was shocked, and wondered how Gupta has so much power. Gupta allegedly said he would put in a word for her with the president and added, "we usually do."
Zondo wants more clarity.
Zuma says he always consults before cabinet reshuffles, especially with the ANC top six, and alliance leadership.
The Guptas wouldn't have known.
Pretorius: Various issues were discussed in that meeting. She was told by the Gupta brother that there'd be a cabinet reshuffle in the next week or so, roughly October 2010.
Zuma says he recalls the reshuffle as reshuffles happen regularly.
Pretorius: it appears as if Ajay Gupta knew about a cabinet reshuffle that was to happen. Could he have known?
Zuma: "No. Ajay Gupta was not part of government."
Pretorius clarifies that Zuma is not saying that Ajay didn't know, but that the probabilities are that he wouldn't know.
Pretorius: Mentor says she was picked up at the airport, taken to Sahara Computers, and taken to the Saxonwold compound.
Ajay Gupta told her that Zuma knew of the meeting.
Zuma cannot comment on it, he doesn't know about it.
Pretorius clarifies: they can't deal with the details of the interaction because Zuma doesn't remember any interaction with Mentor.
Pretorius: Mentor says she received a call from Kaunda (this is some time in 2010) saying Zuma could see her the next day. He asks Zuma if he remembers this.
Pretorius: Mentor says she tried to talk to you about the pebble bed nuclear reactors and talked to Lakela Kaunda, who she thought was your personal assistant, to set up a meeting.
Zuma says he knows nothing about it.
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius asks if Zuma recalls the Guptas going on any state visit. Zuma says he does not, asking: why would they play any prominent role? (@azarrahk)— Team News24 (@TeamNews24) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Pretorius asks if Zuma recalls the Guptas going on any state visit. Zuma says he does not, asking: why would they play any prominent role? (@azarrahk)
#StateCaptureInquiry Mentor lays out why she believes she was dismissed. Around the China visit, Zuma says he doesn't recall this because he had been to China a number of times and would need to check his records. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/nwhWlapFKI— Azarrah Karrim (@azarrahk) July 16, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Mentor lays out why she believes she was dismissed. Around the China visit, Zuma says he doesn't recall this because he had been to China a number of times and would need to check his records. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/nwhWlapFKI
Zuma is asked if he remembers a state visit to China in 2010.
Zuma says he's been to China a few times. He might not remember.
Pretorius: Another reason for Mentor's removal, she says, is her refusal to assist in the shutting down of the SA - India route.
Zuma says he knows nothing about it.
Pretorius: Mentor says she chaired the public enterprises portfolio committee, and she was removed from the position in 2010.
In her opinion, the reasons for her removal were twofold: that she refused to meet with yourself (Zuma) on the China state visit.
"I know nothing about it." - Zuma
In a nutshell, Pretorius says, Mentor was offered a ministerial position if she advanced the Guptas' commercial interests, and that Zuma knew about this.
Zuma says he had nothing to do with this.
Pretorius now turns to Vytjie Mentor's evidence.
He says no finding has been made as to its veracity, but he wants to give Zuma the opportunity to comment.
Pretorius wants to give Zuma the opportunity to comment on the "import" of what Maseko says.
The nexus point is that Maseko says the Guptas wanted him to direct government's advertising budget to The New Age. And, "at the very least, he was punished" for not doing what Ajay Gupta wanted him to do, Pretorius says.
Maseko attributes the decision to dismiss or transfer him to Zuma.
Do you have any comment? Pretorius asks Zuma
"No, I did not cause him to be shifted," Zuma says.
Pretorius returns to the allegation that Zuma told Collins Chabane to fire Maseko because he wouldn't cooperate with the Guptas.
"I never issued such an instruction," Zuma says.
Want to catch up with Themba Maseko's evidence?
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