Mcebisi Jonas admits to errors in Thuli Madonsela's state capture report

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas during his initial appearance at the state capture commission in August 2018.
Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas during his initial appearance at the state capture commission in August 2018.

In a heated cross-examination by Duduzane Zuma's lawyers, Mcebisi Jonas has admitted that there were inaccuracies in one of the statements he submitted to then public protector Thuli Madonsela for her investigation into state capture.

But Jonas made it clear that the document, which contained a timeline of events depicting what happened when he was taken to the Gupta's Saxonwold home, was drafted by his lawyer hurriedly at the request of the public protector.

He said he cleared up the inaccuracies contained in the document when he made a "comprehensive" statement to the commission of inquiry into state capture when he appeared in August last year.

During his second appearance at the commission on Friday, advocate Piet Louw, representing former president Jacob Zuma's son, used the document sent to Madonsela to tear into Jonas's evidence. He argued that Jonas's statement was "patently wrong".

However, Louw did not contest that, as per Jonas' evidence, he met Zuma on October 23 2015 at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank or that Zuma took Jonas to the Gupta's Saxonwold home. There were also no questions about Jonas's primary allegation that at the home, one of the Gupta brothers offered him R600m and the job of finance minister in exchange for doing the family's bidding.

After Jonas met Madonsela for an interview in 2016, he was instructed to prepare a timeline of events that would deal with a number of issues that remained unclear.

"It was done. 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," Jonas said in response to questions by Louw.

In his evidence, Jonas said he was introduced to Zuma by businessman Fana Hlongwane. He claims he met Zuma after a Nedlac meeting at the Hyatt Hotel, after which he went with Zuma to the Gupta's home. He told the commission that he did not know whom he was going to meet or where they were going. He went with Zuma without his private bodyguards.

"Did you ask Zuma what the meeting was about? 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 him.

"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 responded.

Louw also asked why Jonas did not lay a charge with the police and only mentioned the meeting to Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanhla Nene.

"The situation at the time was very hostile. I hardly trusted the police, I didn’t trust the Hawks and I didn't even trust the intelligence," he said.

Jonas added that Nene and Gordhan were the only two people he trusted at the time.

"The fact that there were threats made it even more serious not to talk out. There are lots of people in government who will see things and rather opt to say quiet," Jonas said.

Louw said Zuma would discuss other allegations contained in Jonas' evidence when he appeared before the commission.

The commission will continue on Monday with evidence related to Denel.

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