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‘Offensive’ questions irritate Mbeki

Pretoria - Former president Thabo Mbeki took exception to what he called “offensive” comments made by advocate Paul Hoffman at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry on Thursday.

“Advocate Hoffman is insistent on making offensive remarks,” an irritated Mbeki told the commission in Pretoria.

Former president Thabo Mbeki is testifying at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria. Photo: Werner Beukes. Credit: SAPA

The former president took offence to Hoffman's statement that his lawyer Marumo Moerane was stopping questions to give Mbeki time to think of an answer.

“As if to give me time to cook up some story,” he said.

The former president asked that they try to respect each other.

Mbeki also took exception to Hoffman referring to the late former defence minister Joe Modise as a king maker who got him the position of president.

Hoffman had called government staff “minions”, for which he apologised. Mbeki accepted his apology.

Hoffman was cross-examining Mbeki on behalf of anti-arms deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne.

The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago to investigate alleged corruption in the country's multi-billion-rand arms procurement deal in 1999.

Mbeki was president of the country at the time and Zuma his deputy.

Former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and former public enterprises minister Alec Erwin attended the commission on Thursday. The three, who were part of Mbeki's Cabinet, sat behind the former president at the commission.

Sapa

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