State capture inquiry is not a trial of the ANC, says Gwede Mantashe
Johannesburg - ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has revealed that there was a recommendation of the party’s Integrity Commission for then President Jacob Zuma to step down.
Mantashe said this recommendation was made shortly after the Gupta family landed a private wedding plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013.
He said since then the ANC has been going through a period of "instability".
Mantashe was in the hot seat at the Zondo commission when he faced questions on the party's deployment and cadre policies, its relationship with the Guptas and the role the party played in Parliamentary oversight.
Evidence-leader advocate Alec Freund asked Mantashe if he could provide the commission with the ANC's 2013 Integrity report, but Mantashe said the commission should not be converted into a "trial of the ANC".
Earlier, he told the commission that when he was secretary-general of the party, he and his deputy Jesse Duarte were against the removal of Zuma as president.
He said he knew it would destabilise the party, the government and the country.
Speaking about the ANC's view of Parliamentary oversight, Mantashe told about how the Gupta family found itself involved. He said Ajay Gupta first became a member of former president Thabo Mbeki's International Advisory Council and then later approached the ANC to establish its media brands, ANN7 and The New Age.
Mantashe said when the ANC embraced the Guptas' diversification of the media, it did not know that they had other business interests or of their relationship with Zuma.
Mantashe also came out in strong defence of the party's deployment policy..
He maintained throughout his day-long appearance that the ANC had a "deployment policy" where it merely recommended qualified cadres to a state position. Those cadres, he said, still had to go through the normal interview and selection processes.
He, however, admitted that the party was interested in populating the government with people who understood and were willing to support the ANC agenda, "like any ruling party".
He also admitted that he first would approach the ANC's Deployment Committee before approaching the Cabinet regarding the appointment of a candidate.
Freund questioned Mantashe about whether the ANC was looking to control the public service and administration to which Mantashe agreed, but stated that cadres were well aware they become public representatives when they joined the state.
"Unashamedly the ANC wants to govern and you cannot govern without the state," he said.
Freund said this presented a conflict as the Constitution prescribed a non-partisan public service.
Mantashe accused the commission of putting ANC policies on trial and added that Freund did not appreciate the work of the ANC.
He explained that the ANC was not an employer in the state but rather used the cadre policy to capacitate comrades with academic qualifications that would prepare them "to handle bigger responsibilities''.
"This policy talks to the ANC internal policy.
"The cadre policy is about the development of individual members of the ANC. It is not a deployment policy which is an entirely different policy," he explained.
Mantashe said the cadre policy was an intervention to ensure that ANC members who worked within the state made significant contributions in advancing the party's agenda.