To 'overZumanise' the state capture commision would be the 'biggest mistake' - Jonas

2019-03-15 17:26
Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images)

Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas testifies at the commission of inquiry into state capture. (Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images)

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Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas told the state capture commission of inquiry that it would be "the biggest mistake to think the commission was about former president Jacob Zuma.

"The danger, I would still argue, with the process of state capture is - can I use the term to overzumanise it? To think that it was about Zuma.

"That will be the biggest mistake, because it is bigger, it is structural, it is systemic. Because you will miss the point if you do that," he told the commission.

Jonas appeared before the commission for the second time to complete his statement and to be cross-examined by the legal teams representing Zuma's son, Duduzane, and businessman Fana Hlongwane.

However, Hlongwane's legal team was not present at the commission.

Jonas previously testified that the Gupta family offered him R600 000 in cash during a meeting at their residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg in October 2015.

He was also offered R600m to take the top ministry post, he said.   

READ: AS IT HAPPENED: Jonas endures grilling from Duduzane Zuma's lawyer, Hlongwane's legal team fails to pitch at #StateCaptureInquiry

On Friday, the commission's evidence leader, advocate Phillip Mokoena, took Jonas through his statement and asked about the death threats he spoke of during his testimony. 

Mokoena asked Jonas why he did not mention in his interview with the Public Protector that he would be killed if he didn't co-operate with the Guptas.

"At the time, that was probably the most difficult period for us," Jonas said.

"Even the conversation with the Public Protector - we walked into the conversation, she asked us questions, I was very uncertain even about talking to her. I didn't trust anybody, I didn't trust the police, quite frankly."

Jonas said when he came to the commission he knew it was a public platform and he had his confidence back. 

"I can say what I want to say. Probably, if reprisals come, they will come through legal mechanisms. I outlined earlier on how the Hawks treated us," he said.

Jonas also touched on his meeting with Duduzane Zuma and Hlongwane at the Gupta residence in October 2015.

He disputed the assertion that there was no Gupta brother at the meeting at Saxonwold, insisting that a Gupta brother remained "for the larger part" of the meeting.

ALSO READ: Guptas offered me R600k in cash - Jonas

During cross-examination by Duduzane Zuma's advocate Piet Louw, Jonas was asked why his statement to the Public Protector contained inconsistencies.

"There were lots of contradictions in the dates at the time because it was a rushed process. I did look at it and I pointed out some of the things that were lumped together and things that could have been articulated differently. There are points one could say were incorrect," he replied.   

Louw also asked Jonas if he asked Zuma about what the meeting was about when they met in Rosebank before going to the Gupta residence in October 2015.

"You decided to leave with Zuma to a place you did not know for a purpose you did not know? And you left your protectors behind and your vehicle?" Louw asked.

"I just waited for him to articulate what the meeting was about. I asked him how far, he said it is not far, it is just around the corner. I had no reason [to believe] that there was anything funny or bad that was about to happen," Jonas replied.

Jonas added that he did not always go everywhere with his protectors.

He also said he was not expecting to meet with Hlongwane on the day of the meeting with Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas.

The commission continues on Monday.

Read more on:    duduzane zuma  |  gupta brothers  |  mcebisi jonas  |  johannesburg  |  state capture inquiry
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