The ruling African National Congress’s (ANC’s) deputy general-secretary, Jessie Duarte, said on Wednesday that she was “very keen” to testify at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Speaking at a media briefing around the ANC’s position on former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s resignation yesterday, following his testimony at the commission last week, Duarte was asked if she would also be willing to testify, to which she said she had nothing to hide and would be “very willing” to testify.
Nene had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove him as Minister on Tuesday after he revealed at the commission that he had had multiple unofficial meetings with the controversial Gupta family.
Duarte said that the ANC appreciated that Nene had chosen to resign after the “furore” that took place after his own submission to the commission.
“He made a decision that sat well with himself and we hope to move forward speedily to enable stability in Treasury and its institutions such as the South African Revenue Service,” she said.
Speaking of the appointment of former Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni as the new Finance Minister, Duarte said that the ANC welcomed his appointment as he is a veteran of the ANC and has a vast wealth of experience in policy formulation in the governing party.
STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY
Following Nene’s resignation, Duarte said that the perception is that the ANC is on trial and added that the party was concerned.
While, the ANC urged anyone with information that could assist the commission to come forward, she said that the party wanted them to “be factual”.
She said it was also important to understand the ANC’s role in the establishment of Gupta-owned media companies, the African News Network 7 (ANN7) and the New Age newspaper.
“By the time I got into the picture that was a well-established fact. I am very willing to go and talk about the meetings I had with [former editor-in-chief of ANN7 and the New Age] Moegsien Williams. I have no problem with that, I have nothing to hide. I am not afraid to say that that we did discuss a media that would give the ANC unmitigated space to put its policies forward,” said Duarte.
She hoped that the country could, at some point, move beyond examining one family and move on, for example, to the local government level, where she said it was important to examine the links between people demanding leadership positions and how the role related to their respective businesses.
“The ultimate thing is that when a person has benefitted directly from making a connection, that is corrupt. Hopefully in the Zondo commission that is what will be proved, how people have benefitted. Not perceptions, but reality, truth and facts. This is an important season in our country. Very few African States have this opportunity. It’s a golden opportunity for us,” Duarte pronounced.
She briefly alluded to her name being mentioned by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor during her testimony at the State capture inquiry.
Mentor said Duarte and herself had discussed an offer made by the Guptas to Mentor for a ministerial post in exchange for business concessions.
“The fact that a person’s name is mentioned by another does not mean that person is corrupt. Vytjie Mentor mentioned my name, I’ve never met her on any matter except for her broken leg. It does not mean I am corrupt nor does it mean she is mismanaging facts,” said Duarte.
Meanwhile, the ANC did not expect the commission to conclude its work before the 2019 elections. While it was a concern for the party, Duarte said the commission must be allowed to take its time and do a proper job.