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AS IT HAPPENED | Mantashe gives testimony at the state capture commission

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14 April 19:52

After some discussion, Zondo has decided that Mantashe's testimony will adjourn and will continue at a later date

14 April 19:46

Zondo asks Mantashe whether it is seen as a "bad thing" for an ANC member to "go along with proposals from opposition parties".

Mantashe says ANC members do agree with other parties. 

14 April 19:35

Freund now asks Mantashe whether, when an MP takes the oath of office, "is it not so that that MP is dutybound to ask where does the interests of the country lie?"

Mantashe says he is in parliament for only three years. He says it is highly unusual for any party to have a split vote on any issue. "Why should ANC MPs be encouraged to vote freely, but I've never seen opposition parties voting like that. If we are talking about principles, they must be principles for all parties."

Zondo tells Mantashe that surely there are situations where it may be that the interest of the country dictates that any parliament member vote in a way that "may not be seen by the party bosses that may not be in line with the party."

Mantashe says, in principle, he agrees. "But how do you come to that determination? We must demystify the notion that there is a difference between what is in the interest of the ANC and of the government."

14 April 19:23

Zondo puts to Mantashe whether the fear of a party split being greater than wanting to take action against errant party members is justified.

Mantashe says: "Taking that decision will be cutting your nose to spite your face. You are telling the world that we are holier than thou... but the consequence is that you will destroy your party... Any advice that says we must allow the opposition to say 'we must take a vote of no confidence and fire the president'..." he said, saying that would be bad for the party.

Zondo: "The attitude of saying members of the ANC to vote against a motion of no confidence tabled by an opposition party... Does it apply to other decision or only the motion of no confidence?"

Mantashe: "MPs are allowed to think and take decisions. But some decisions cut at the heart of the party, and the party must take political decision."

14 April 19:14

Zondo now comes in. He asks Mantashe whether if there is a "tension" between the oath of office and allowing a president to be voted out over controversy.

Mantashe says: "It's a political issue, it's not just a technical, legal issue... collapsing your party and then thinking you can survive."

Zondo: "It ought to be possible to have a situation... where what is in the interest of the ruling party might not be in the interest of the public."

Mantashe: "That question has been put to us 1 000 times. But when I am staying in Luthuli House I have to keep the ANC in tact [to provide for the country]... Obviously it would be a huge call for any member to destroy the ANC." He says it would be a political disaster to collapse the pillars of the party, hence the decision to remove a president is hard.

Zondo asks whether the party should not put a process to see whether there are real grounds to see if the president should be removed, and should that process show grounds. 

Mantashe reiterates that it causes problems to remove a president. He says should a president be removed, "there would be a massive split in the ANC and it would collapse."

14 April 19:01

Freund now asks Mantashe if he was aware of a 2016 parliament motion by an opposition party to investigate allegations of corruption, specifically about the Gupta family, and that the ANC had opposed it.

Freund also asks about the several motions of no confidence against Zuma during his tenure. He puts to Mantashe that there was more "political pressure" from the public for the votes of no confidence to be "considered on their merits" because "many people took the view that there was substance to the claims." This was around 2016/2017. He asks if Mantashe agrees, and whether he asked caucus to vote against the motions.

Mantashe says the removal of a president is a "very serious matter". He says it is the kind of thing "we deal with every day" - opposition parties trying to "kill" the ANC. "Our attitude is that a sitting president is a political matter, a party matter, because if you destroy that pillar of the government, you are going to find many issues as a consequence."

Mantashe says he told the caucus not to vote for the motion. He says nine members did vote against the ANC in the secret ballot. He says Makhosi Khoza's publicly saying that she voted against the party was out of order.

Mantashe says the "ANC will do everything in its powers not to spit the ANC.. If a person feels they are bigger than the ANC, then they must leave the ANC."

14 April 18:53

Freund has questioned Mantashe regarding party mechanisms to deal with controversial issues. Mantashe says the party had asked eight members to hand in, in writing, allegations about the Guptas. He says only former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko had made a submission.

Freund now turns to former deputy finance minister Mcebisis Jonas, as well as Vytjie Mentor's allegations and others. Mantashe says Jonas came forward to the party to detail allegations concerning the Guptas. 

14 April 18:38

Freund puts to Mantashe that the Guptas may not have had to capture the entire party if they had captured certain key members. 

Mantashe says "stories were flying" about certain party members being involved with the family.

Freund asks where the ANC caucus receives information on what its stance should be on controversial issues. Mantashe says: "Caucus takes decisions. If the head office of the ANC thinks it needs to communicate with caucus, it will go to caucus."

14 April 18:27

Freund now turns to a media article from 2016 which claims a meeting took place which included Mantashe, where a report that was compiled about Guptas' alleged influenced. He says the Guptas were at that meeting. Mantashe agrees that the meeting happened, but says "we didn't meet a family, we met a company" which was "threatening to retrench workers". 

The company in question was named Tageta, Mantashe says. Tageta is a coal/mining company. This meeting was after banks started closing the company's accounts. 

Mantashe first said the report was compiled by parliament, but then, after questioning, said there was "no such report".

Freund, continuing with the media report, where he is quoted saying the Guptas had "captured individual party members but no the ANC", to which Mantashe agrees he had said. 

Freund asks which members. Mantashe says: "I'll start with Fikile Mbalula, who had confessed himself," referring to Mbalula telling the NEC meeting he was approached by the family. Mantashe does not name other members. 

"The ANC was not captured," Mantashe says. He adds that there were "stories" about individual party members having been captured. 

14 April 18:19

The commission has resumed after a short break

14 April 17:56

The commission has paused for a break

14 April 17:42

Freund now turns to the integrity commission finding that Zuma should step down in 2017. He asks Mantashe what the findings were. Mantashe says he can't answer, but says it was about Zuma's relationship with the Gupta family.

14 April 17:27

Freund now turns to a media report in 2013 about the Waterkloof air base landing saga. He cites the report's sources claiming Mantashe "allegedly went so far as to tell ministers to have a backbone and stop taking orders from the Guptas."

Mantashe agrees that these were his sentiments at the time. He, however, denies claims in the report that he had suffered a "fallout" with Zuma, saying that was "old bullshit".

Mantashe said he had told members not to comply with illegitimate orders. 

14 April 17:14

Freund continues to go over old newspaper article, which allege that Fikile Mbalula told Zuma at a 2011 NEC meeting that the Gupta's had told Mbalula that they knew of an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

Freund says: "The point I'm trying to make, is that, if this incident happened, it happened in 2011 and not in 2014." Mantashe agrees.

"And the point of that," Freund continues, "January and February [2011] there were allegations reported, but your office said in March that these allegations weren't true." Freund says that around that time Mbalula told Zuma "to his face" about the Gupta family's influence. 

Mantashe reiterates that the two incidents that concerned him about the Gupta was the 2013 Waterkloof landing and Mbalula's allegations. 

14 April 17:07

Freund puts to Mantashe that the newspaper allegations were not taken seriously by the ANC, "and now we are all paying the price," he says.

He asks Mantashe on what basis the allegations were dismissed merely as "racial prejudice" against the Guptas.

Mantashe says the media had shown that it would focus on "companies of a certain kind" and ignore wrongdoing by others. He doesn't go into details.

14 April 17:04

Freund puts to Mantashe that if the allegations in the 2011 newspaper reports were true, they would be of the utmost importance.

Mantashe agrees, but says "the reaction at the time in terms of the information at our disposal, we dismissed those allegations."

Mantashe agrees with Freund's question that such serious allegations should be investigated, and were of serious concern. 

Mantashe reiterates that the party did an "analysis" and found that it was a "racist stance" by newspapers. He explains that the analysis was done in the office of the Secretary General (who at the time was Mantashe.)

14 April 16:59

Freund once again asks Mantashe whether he knew about Gupta influence allegations back in 2011. Mantashe denies this again, but Freund says "this could not possibly be true."

Freund cites a quote that Mantashe gave at the time regarding Gupta influence. Mantashe agrees he gave a quote denying links between the family and the ANC.

Mantashe says it's an "unfair question". Zondo comes in, and asks Mantashe why he gave the quote denying links. Mantashe refuses to answer. 

14 April 16:54

Freund now turns to newspaper reports that alleged the Gupta family was influencing appointment of people in key government institutions. This includes government officials allegedly being informed that they were getting certain Cabinet positions before a Cabinet reshuffle. He says ministers used to "shiver" when called to the Gupta family's home. He asks Mantashe whether he was ever made aware of this.

Mantashe says no. "There was no pressure mounted on the ANC by the Guptas in the first term. There were signs that something was going wrong..." but there was no pressure, he says.

Freund bluntly asks Mantashe was unaware of these allegations, published in 2011. 

Mantashe says at the time there was no evidence at that time in Zuma's presidential term that there were problems.

He said only in 2013, when the Gupta family landed a plane at the Waterkloof air base, did he start to see a problem.

14 April 16:47

Zondo refers to Hogan's evidence, alleging that then-president Jacob Zuma "wanted Gama and no one else."

He says Hogan alleged that she had told Zuma about internal disciplinary hearings against Gama, which Zuma allegedly then replied that she must hold the position until Gama is able to take it. He says the post had no CEO for a few years, when another suitable candidate couldn't be appointed. 

Mantashe says if there was tension between Zuma and Hogan "it cannot be extended to us". He says he never told Hogan specifically to take Gama. 

14 April 16:42

Freund now chimes in, telling Mantashe that there was "no reason" for him to believe at that time that the candidate in the running wasn't a black person. He says Mantashe's "adamant support for Gama raises a question".

Mantashe disputes this. "At the time we raised that, racism is in the sub-conscious mind and it must be challenged... We asked the question: here is a young professional who is doing well (Gama), why isn't he being considered... and Ms Hogan thought I was putting pressure on her."

Mantashe says he would have raised the very same issue for any suitable black candidate.

14 April 16:39

Zondo says evidence before the commission suggests that Gama was not one of the names on the shortlist for the job on Transnet CEO.

Mantashe reiterates that all he asked Hogan was why Gama wasn't being considered, despite his solid professional track record. 

Zondo says the acting CEO at the time, a Mr Weltz, had applied for the job, but later pulled out. 

14 April 16:37

Mantashe says "black excellence must be recognised", and had only questioned Hogan about it because of that. He denies that this would have amounted to him putting "pressure" on Hogan to appoint Gama.

Zondo asks whether Mantashe would have raised the same query about another top black candidate, and Mantashe says he would have. 

14 April 16:34

Mantashe says Hogan offered to brief the ANC's top six at the time, believing she wanted to "take off the pressure she thought she was under" to appoint Gama.

Zondo asks Mantashe about his comments on appointing a young black candidate over a white candidate. Zondo says Hogan's evidence says the board preferred a black candidate. "Were the officials aware of that?" he asks.

Mantashe says there was a white candidate in the running, a "Mr Weltz". He says a black candidate emerging in the running for the post happened later. 

Mantashe says he had asked Hogan at the time about taking on Gama, who had previously turned around the fortunes of other entities, and therefore would have deserved to be considered for Transnet CEO. 

14 April 16:29

Freund, still talking about Hogan's evidence, turns attention to appointments at the Transnet job. He cites evidence from Hogan about Siyabonga Gama, who had been facing a disciplinary hearing. Gama had been interviewed for Transnet CEO.

Mantashe says he was not in the "deployment committee" for this appointment. Mantashe said he had told Hogan that Gama had a good track record in his career, saying that at that time there was an opportunity to appoint a black candidate when a white candidate could have also been appointed. 

14 April 16:23

Freund goes back to Barbra Hogan's evidence on cadre deployment, regarding banks. He believes Mantashe did not testify in aspects of her evidence. Mantashe has responded in writing to those allegations, but not orally, Freund says.

Mantashe says he is "happy" to respond. 

Freund now goes back to Hogan's evidence, saying she had been "critical" regarding pressure she felt to make certain appointments for boards and SOEs. He says some of her evidence is over appointment policies. "What Ms Hogan says is... that her perception was the ANC expected to have influence over who was appointed for the boards."

Mantashe says the "relationship between a minister and the deployment committee is the same," saying there was "nothing unique" when it came to Hogan.

Freund says Hogan felt that it was rather "pressurising" those responsible for making appointments. Mantashe disputes this. 

14 April 16:17

The commission continues after a short break. 

14 April 16:08

After a brief discussion about whether or not to continue proceedings past what would be the usual finishing time, it is agreed they will forge ahead. 

According to Freund, it could take quite some time.

Zondo calls for a short adjournment before carrying on.

14 April 15:59

Mantashe continues: "I was the secretary-general of the ANC, during a phase that is regarded as a young democracy. In that process, we observed a number of things. Sometimes, MPs want to comply for the sake of complying. And we thought that Parliament must be an activist Parliament - that is still haunting me up to today, because in terms it can mean anything and many things to different people."

Mantashe: "But what we wanted to do was have a Parliament that is robust and activist in its approach, including oversight, that was what prompted that. We [were trying] to re-orientate Parliament, and have a different orientation. And you'll notice that we also changed the chief whip."

Mantashe says they wanted a "leader who would whip Parliamentarians into activity".

14 April 15:54

Freund asks Mantashe what prompted him to feel the need to make the following statement in 2009: "The ANC has given its MPs strict instructions to be robust, and not to be afraid of holding Cabinet ministers to account for their actions."

Freund, still reading from records, says it then says the names of chairpersons of the National Assembly were announced, and then it says that "party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said MPs and committee chairpersons had been told to keep Cabinet ministers on their toes, the committees were given the simple message: 'We are expecting an activist Parliament, a Parliament that is robust with its oversight role, a Parliament that will force the executive to account, a Parliament that will not wait for the opposition to raise issues'."

Freund confirms with Mantashe that he was correctly quoted, and Mantashe agrees.

14 April 15:40

Freund now departs from the questions surrounding cadre deployment, and moves onto the issue of Parliamentary oversight.

14 April 15:36

After quite some back and forth between Mantashe, Freund and Zondo about the issue of cadre deployment, Freund now returns to referencing the testimony of Barbara Hogan.

Freund: "Do you dispute her evidence that the ANC had expectations that they would have influence over who was appointed to boards via the deployment committee?"

Mantashe: "No, before I dispute that, let me make the point that the beneficiary of the deployment process, all of a sudden, sees it as a behind-the-scenes process. That's my problem. Because that deployment process deployed Barbara as a minister. Now, all of a sudden, you want to appropriate that to herself, as one? I think that is a distortion of policy, in my view."

14 April 15:11

Mantashe earlier admitted that the ANC encouraged cadres to apply for judicial appointments, but said the party doesn't deploy judges. He said in his 10 years as ANC secretary-general, he never knew of a judge who had to account to Luthuli House.

He said the ANC understands the separation of powers and doesn't tamper with it.

This comes a day after a recording emerged of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte saying at a meeting of the ANC top six that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is a "disappointment" and that the party isn't "confident about the judiciary at the moment".

 - Jan Gerber

14 April 15:05

Zondo attempts to simplify the context of the line of questioning: "Of course you will appreciate that the reason why one is looking at them and their implementation is that, in part, the commission is trying to say, to the extent that certain wrong things happen, how did they come about? What are the... Was there an environment that facilitated the happening of those wrong things? What should be done in the future to make sure that the prospects of those wrong things happening again are minimised?"

Zondo: "And when you want to do that you then say, can we do that without looking at the governing party, how does it deal with certain situations - so that's the context, I'm sure you understand."

Mantashe responds: "We have no problem with being looked at, as the governing party. The issue we are raising is that, in doing so, when there are problems, I can tell you that we absorb the pain from those problems, closer than in a public hearing. We are sitting there, these things happen in our offices, and we must deal with them."

Mantashe says it's a different issue "when we take policies of the governing party, put them on trial". Mantashe says when you do that, objectivity disappears.

14 April 14:40

Mantashe: "But there's nothing that stops us to say 'Advocate X, don't you think you have been practising long enough to be a judge? Apply.' Because there are these vacancies that have emerged in the various courts, please go and apply, because you have gone through this process."

Mantashe says there's nothing that stops them from saying "that will be a progressive judge, please apply".

14 April 14:37

Mantashe: "The root of the matter is that judges are not born judges. They go through a particular career development, until at the apex of that process, they become judges."

Mantashe: "And the reason I'm saying when I was secretary-general for 10 years, I've never seen a queue of judges accounting to me. I can't remember a day where I had a discussion with a judge, on anything."

Mantashe: "I may be a client of a judge, for my sins in society, that's it. But I have never seen judges come to Luthuli House to account, because one of the things that the ANC appreciates and understands is the separation of powers. We respect that. We don't tamper with judges. We don't get into that space."

14 April 14:26

"I'm not allergic to deployment," Mantashe quips.

14 April 14:26

Freund makes reference to a case (which Mantashe argues he has no insight into) where the court found that it was unlawful for ANC councillors, within provincial structures, to be held to a deployment decision by a party structure. 

Mantashe counters and asks if it's not a problem for the DA to appoint a mayor in the Western Cape, or any other province it governs, then why is it an issue when the ANC does the same?

14 April 14:08

Back from the lunch adjournment. 

We continue with Freund still leading Mantashe's evidence, and seemingly still focused on the issue of "cadre deployment" and exactly what it means.

14 April 13:58

ICYMI

WATCH: Parliamentary oversight-related evidence from Gwede Mantashe (Part 1)

14 April 13:04

Zondo decides that now would be a good time for the lunch adjournment. Proceedings will resume at 14:00.

14 April 12:56

Mantashe suggests that Freund can't understand because he has never been a member of a political party, "he is a lawyer".

Freund responds and says Mantashe is in fact wrong, "I have been a member of the African National Congress..."

Mantashe: "Maybe in paper, yes. On paper, on paper."

Zondo laughs and tells Mantashe he can't refute that Freund is saying he was a part of the party. "...A long time ago," Freund adds.

Mantashe concedes, but says "the reality of the matter is that he (Freund) really doesn't appreciate the work in the party. That's the point I'm making."

14 April 12:48

Freund: "I'm not aware of another document that looks like this. This looks to me like the only document that's been furnished to me, as the ANC's cadre deployment and development policy, and my question to you is, whether you accept, to the best of your knowledge, that this remains the applicable policy, or whether you believe there were subsequent policies adopted in writing on some later occasion?"

"I will have to break and go through the documents that I submitted, to answer the question," says Mantashe. 

Mantashe: "There are quite a number of documents submitted on the cadre deployment, on the deployment policy. So I don't know whether that is the last or the first - I will need a break for that."

Freund suggests that Mantashe goes over the documents during the lunch adjournment and look into that question.

14 April 12:32

Mantashe: "I can be an ANC member and a cadre, but once I am deployed to a responsibility, I will understand the fact that I cease to be a party person, I become a public representative. That is where non-partisanship kicks in."

Mantashe: "Now, this assumption that non-partisanship means absence of the ANC, it's the wrong assumption."

14 April 12:13

Mantashe says he is worried about the effort to "locate deployment to cadre". "I'm worried about that," he says.

14 April 12:09

Mantashe: "Deployment is a collective effort to send people to tasks, and give them tasks. Employment is that process that takes place in government, not in the ANC - in the ANC we employ our people, obviously they will employ cadres, we won't employ a person who's a non-ANC member, in the ANC."

Mantashe: "But in government, the government selection process is controlled by a department in government, Public Service and Administration, there's these policies. Therefore, recommendations of the deployment committee are not automatic."

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