South Africa: Zuma Misled the Executive - Gordhan Tells State Capture Commission

22 November 2018

Former president Jacob Zuma misled the executive about his intervention in several matters, including the controversial nuclear deal and the boards of state-owned enterprises, indicating that there was "a scheme at play".

This was testimony of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan during his third day at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

When inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, asked Gordhan who lied, manipulated and misled the executive as per his statement, Gordhan simply responded that it was Zuma.

"The president did, for asking us to look at intervention into the relationship between banks and their clients for example, pushing the nuclear deal, as was indicated already, allowing for particular types of boards in SOEs [state-owned enterprises] to be established, putting in particular ministers who might be co-operative. All that, if you look at it retrospectively, means that there was a scheme at play," Gordhan said.

He also told the commission that he hoped that once it had done its work, it could point out who exactly was behind state capture and who the players were.

Gordhan was appointed public enterprises minister following President Cyril Ramaphosa's Cabinet reshuffle on February 26, 2018. He is in charge of seven SOEs.

Asked if he was satisfied with the vetting of candidates who worked for SOEs, Gordhan said one could never be fully satisfied.

He said they were in the process of "recapturing" SOEs - rearranging boards and management - so that they could carry out their roles.

He also told Zondo that the "push back and the noise, like what was seen yesterday [Tuesday], was because some players would not like the commission to dig too deep and uncover certain things".

The minister testified that Ramaphosa was attempting to steer them in a way in which they would begin to find their moral centre of gravity again.

Gordhan addressed allegations surrounding his daughter's business interests, saying she had not done any business with the state.

"My daughter has not done any business with the state. Play the ball, not the man. Come to me if there are political objectives. Don't choose vulnerable targets," he said.

He also said allegations that his daughter used her relationship with him to get tenders were a "blatant lie, dangerous and unfounded"; Gordhan strongly condemned attacks on family members of witnesses who appeared at the commission.

"This information about my daughter is for the public to understand that she has not engaged in malfeasance of any kind," he said.

He also said his daughter did not have an account in Canada, nor did he.

However, following his statement, the EFF continued its battle with the minister, claiming he distorted its allegations against him and his daughter.

"He seeks to distort what we said about him, his daughter and a Canadian bank account.

"Gordhan says his daughter has no account in Canada. However, we never said his daughter has an account in Canada.

"Instead, we said he must answer questions as to whether he has an account in Canada if he visited Canada on state or personal business, and what the nature of this business was," EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.

Source: News24

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