ANC was in trouble in my last five years as SG, says Mantashe

ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe shed light on how state capture led to a rupture in the party’s top structures during former president Jacob Zuma’s second term in office.
“The first five years of the ten 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,” he said.
Mantashe testified how tensions escalated in the ANC over state capture, resulting in least three members of Zuma’s cabinet leading impassioned calls for his removal.
“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, difficult and complex issues.
“There were two specific reshuffles that actually caused a lot of revolt.
“The first was the dismissal of [former] minister Nhlanhla Nene and the recall of minister [Pravin] Gordhan,” he said.
Earlier, Mantashe had to defend the party from allegations that it tried to pressure banks into reconsidering their decision to close Gupta-linked bank accounts.
Mantashe had been asked questions around his testimony already before the commission from executives of Standard Bank, Absa and Nedbank, who said they were summoned to Luthuli House in 2016 to account for why they closed Gupta-linked accounts.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and the chairman of the party’s economic transformation subcommittee, Enoch Godongwana, were also present at the meetings. The two accompanied Mantashe to the commission yesterday.
He recalled how, as the party’s secretary-general, his office received a letter from Oakbay chief executive Nazeem Howa, asking for a meeting to discuss potential job losses emanating from the closure of the company’s accounts.
“We didn’t just wake up and call the banks. There were quite a number of issues that put pressure on us to seek clarity on how the banks were working ... The issue of the closure of the bank accounts of Oakbay in particular was a topical matter in the public domain. Oakbay came to the ANC mainly emphasising the possibility of the loss of jobs,” he said. On Wednesday morning, the commission will hear testimony from former mineral resources minister Ngoaka Ramathlodi and his then advisor Sam Muofhe...

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