Deputy Minister of Finance Mondli Gungubele is not intending to respond to allegations made by Independent Newspapers chairperson Iqbal Survé, who has alleged that ANC insiders told him Gungunbele vowed to "crush" the newspaper group for not "toeing the line".
Survé testified for two days before the PIC commission of inquiry this week. The commission is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the state-run asset manager, which manages R2.2trn in investments on behalf of public servants.
Companies linked to Survé have received about R5.35bn in funding from the PIC. This includes a R200m investment in Premier Fishing, R4.3bn in Ayo Technology Solutions, and R850m in Independent Media.
On Wednesday, Survé told the inquiry that he had heard from a high-ranking ANC members that the deputy finance minister had vowed to "crush" Independent Media, because the media group "does not toe the line".
" I was informed by members of the NEC of the ANC that [...] the chairman of the PIC, Mondli Gungubele, mentioned to them that he will crush Independent Media, he will crush Ayo and he will crush Sekunjalo and that he will not allow any decision at the PIC to favour Sekunjalo, he will [use] taxpayers money to come after us and that’s what he said to NEC members of the ANC," Survé told the commission.
He did not reveal the names of the people who told him, saying he believed the people.
When Fin24 contacted National Treasury for comment via email, National Treasury responded: "Note that the deputy minister has already expressed that he won’t be responding to Dr Survé's allegations."
Acting spokesperson of the ANC Dakota Legoete told Fin24 the governing party did think it was appropriate to make statements regarding evidence presented to the commission before it had concluded.
"As the ANC we have made a commitment that we will at the appropriate time address this. We will not make running comment.
"We will make a submission to the PIC inquiry if summoned to do so. We want press freedom and rule of law to find expression," said Legoete.
Legoete said Gungubele would be best placed to respond to the allegations Survé made against him and that inquiry was the most appropriate place for him to do so.
"In relation to the allegations that the witness has made against Comrade Gungubele, I have full confidence that the commission of inquiry into the PIC will grant the comrade and deputy minister an opportunity to testify and respond," Legoete said.
Multiple attempts to reach Gungubele to discuss the matter were unsuccessful.