Gwede Mantashe says Raymond Zondo caught up in ANC factional battles

Pretoria – Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has rejected the findings of the State Capture report, accusing Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of being caught up in ANC factional battles.

Vowing to take the report on judicial review, the ANC national chairperson said Justice Zondo discounted evidence presented and chose to make disparaging findings against him based on suspicion rather than facts.

Mantashe addressed a press briefing at the Department of Mineral Resources offices in Pretoria yesterday, in reaction to the Zondo Commission report.

He insisted that Justice Zondo was trying to create a case against him out of assumptions, in a bid to link him to wrongdoing at all costs.

“The commission must not find itself in crossfires, caught up in ANC factional battles.

“The report itself says there is no prima facie evidence against me. My legal team is currently analysing the report and we will be taking it to judicial review. We can’t have a judicial process that makes assumptions. This is a judicial process that does not listen to evidence, so it means it has to be reviewed,” Mantashe said.

The third part of the report was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week. The ANC is expected to hold its national elective conference in December.

Justice Zondo found that Mantashe benefited from controversial security company Bosasa, which upgraded security at his home when he was the ANC secretary-general.

Justice Zondo could not be reached for comment. Attempts to contact his spokesperson, Mbuyiselo Stemela, through calls and a text message proved unsuccessful yesterday.

Mantashe had initially hailed the Zondo Commission, saying it was a tool to rid the ANC of corruption.

However, he seemed to be singing a different tune yesterday.

Mantashe said while he still supported the commission, it had to be challenged when it got things wrong.

“It’s a necessary process that we go on judicial review, so that the commission can clean its outcomes.”

Mantashe maintained that he would not be stepping aside from all his ANC duties, saying the report made no adverse findings against him.

Instead, he added, Justice Zondo had merely recommended further investigations, which may or may not find prima facie evidence against him.

According to the ANC’s policy which regulates unethical and irregular conduct by its leadership, known as the step-aside rule, leaders are required to vacate party and government offices if and when they are charged criminally pending the outcomes of their cases.

“Which part of the report says I must step aside?” responded Mantashe when asked by journalists whether he would consider stepping aside if charged.

“The report is struggling to link me to any wrongdoing, and so there must be further investigations.”

In his report, Justice Zondo asserted that Bosasa was “heavily invested in securing tenders from particular government departments and organs of state” while Mantashe was the ANC secretary-general, a powerful position which gave him “powers” to be a “good connection” to the controversial security company.

The report said in part: “It sought to be able, through Mr Mantashe and the inducements and gain provided to him, to influence the leadership of those departments and organs of state, a leadership drawn almost exclusively from the ranks of the ANC and falling within the categories of public office-bearers listed in the commission’s terms of reference.”

Justice Zondo recommended that Mantashe be investigated in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).

The report continued: “In the circumstances, there is a prospect that an investigation will uncover a prima facie case against Mr Mantashe… in respect of the offence of corruption in terms of section 23 of Precca, and the matter is referred for investigation accordingly.”