The ANC was correct when, in 2016, it instructed its MPs to vote against an investigation into the Guptas’ role in state capture, ANC MP Dikeledi Magadzi said.
She added that she would still toe the party line, even knowing what she knows now.
At the time, Magadzi was the chairperson of the portfolio committee on transport. She is currently the deputy minister of transport.
On Monday, the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture continued its probe into Parliament’s oversight function.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, referred to newspaper reports in 2016, which alleged that the Gupta brothers, and then-president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, had a hand in a rigged R51 billion tender at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
Zondo added that there were numerous other allegations about the Guptas in the public domain at the time.
Furthermore, the committee was also well aware of malfeasance at Prasa.
Yet, the ANC contingent on the committee shot down DA MP Manny de Freitas’ proposal to call in the Guptas and launch an investigation.
Zondo had to repeat his question three times on whether the committee wasn’t in dereliction of its duty.
“I wouldn’t say it was dereliction of duty. I would say, when you have a discussion in the portfolio committee, and the portfolio committee agrees that is the route it would take, we didn’t disengage in our duties.
“As the portfolio committee, at that particular time, we saw it fit to take the route that we have taken,” she responded to the question the first time.
“But my question is a different one,” Zondo said.
He repeated his question two more times, and Magadzi finally said: “Indeed, I accept the fact that the committee should have done something.”
The evidence leader, advocate Alec Freund SC, asked why she had voted against a motion to investigate the Guptas and state capture in the National Assembly.
“I’m not in Parliament as myself, I represent the African National Congress (ANC), and I will always ensure that I toe the party line, and that is what I did,” she answered.
She said: “I’m not in Parliament as myself, I represent the ANC, and I will always ensure that I toe the party line, and that is what I did.”
Freund asked what the ANC party line was with regard to investigating the Guptas.
“The ANC said we’re not going to support that motion,” she said.
Zondo asked her if the ANC provided reasons why they shouldn’t support an investigation into the Guptas.
“I can’t recall as to what was the reason as to why the party said we should not support [the motion],” she responded.
Zondo then asked if, knowing everything about the Guptas she does now, would she still support such a motion?
“Chairperson, knowing what I know now, I still believe what the party instructed us to do was correct,” she said.
“Definitely, I will be following my party line.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed her as deputy minister of transport in 2019.