Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
21 Aug 2018
6:00 am

Now is the time to give us answers, JZ

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

At the very least, the nation deserves to know whether the claims by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor around meetings in Saxonwold are true.

Former president Jacob Zuma speaks with his lawyer Daniel Mantsha at the High Court of Pietermaritzburg on July 27, 2018 before his hearing over 16 corruption charges. Picture: AFP PHOTO

Questions that former president Jacob Zuma failed to answer when former public protector Thuli Madonsela interviewed him in 2016 must be revisited by the Zondo commission, according to the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac).

As the nation fixates on the long-awaited commission of inquiry into state capture allegations, centred around Zuma and the Gupta family, interested parties want Zuma to give clarity on his role in the alleged swindling of billions of rands in state funds.

Casac’s executive secretary, Lawson Naidoo, said the best starting point for Judge Raymond Zondo would be where Madonsela left off in the interview preceding the release of her state capture report.

“The starting point should definitely be to link up to the questions asked by the former public protector when she interviewed him, and which the president failed to answer … especially those relating to issues around the hiring and firing of Cabinet ministers and so on.”

During the 2016 interview, the transcript of which was later released, Madonsela seemingly fails to get answers on the relationship between Zuma and the Gupta family. The ensuing discussion between her and Zuma’s then lawyer, Michael Hulley, ended with an agreement for Zuma to answer her questions in an affidavit.

He never did and, instead, filed an urgent interdict against the report being publicised on the eve of its release, and the end of Madonsela’s tenure.

Leader of the United Democratic Movement Bantu Holomisa said the nation deserved to know whether the claims by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor on Zuma’s presence at one of several alleged meetings at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold were true.

Mentor claimed she was offered the job of public enterprises minister by the Gupta family, with Zuma present in the house.

“What we expect is him to lay his cards open, especially around his relationship and proximity to the Guptas, and whether he had, indeed, raised these issues when they came to his attention.

“He also needs to say whether he was, indeed, at that Saxonwold meeting with Mentor,” said Holomisa.

“Also, did he ever hear of people who were dropping his name in order to get business from government? And what steps did he take thereafter?”

One of the findings Madonsela made was that Zuma might have violated the executive ethics code by turning a blind eye to alleged corruption.

This, said Cope leader, Mosiuoa Lekota, was something the commission needed to ascertain. “I would imagine that in the very first place, as a head of state, he must have observed certain patterns and events which were inconsistent with the law.”


Mashaba’s take on commissions 

  • Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba may have let slip what he really thought of the commission when he retweeted a post rubbishing commissions of inquiry initiated by the ANC government.
  • “These commissions are expensive legal spectacles put on the by the ANC to give the South African people an illusion of democracy. They are trying to make us feel like we are in control of government, when we all know ANC officials are exempt from accountability and prosecution.”

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