Mantashe: State capture became a problem in Zuma's second term
African National Congress chairperson Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that things fell apart in the second term of Jacob Zuma’s presidency in as far as state capture was concerned. He said there were no state capture casualties in the first term.
Mantashe, the first top ANC official to appear before the commission headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, said the party had experienced the rise of state capture between 2012 and 2017.
"The first five years of the 10 years I was secretary general, it was just comfortable… there were a lot of good things… the structures did well and even deployment was done nicely. But if you look into the last five years, that is when things began to fall apart, it is when this issue of state capture began to manifest and took various phases. Towards the end of the last five years, we were in trouble," said Mantashe.
He said the party began to truly stand up against state capture when at least three members of Zuma's cabinet led impassioned calls for him to step down, at a heated meeting of its national executive committee. He was referring to tourism minister Derek Hanekom, health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and public works minister Thulas Nxesi who led the charge at the meeting.
Mantashe also recalled how the cabinet reshuffle that led to the axing of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister in 2015 had divided the ANC’s top six officials. The divisions deepened when Zuma axed Pravin Gordhan from the same portfolio in 2017.
"If you recall, at one point when there was a cabinet reshuffle, several officials revolted. That was an indication that we were dealing with serious and difficult complex issues," added Mantashe.
"There were two specific reshuffles that actually caused a lot of revolt. The first one is the dismissal of minister Nhlanhla Nene and the recall of minister Gordhan," Mantashe said.
Mantashe had earlier testified on his role in trying to persuade the big four banks to reconsider their decision to close accounts linked to the Gupta family’s business interests.
Executives from Standard Bank‚ Absa and Nedbank previously told the commission that they had been summoned to a meeting where Mantashe had allegedly demanded an explanation for the closure of the accounts of Gupta-owned businesses.