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Sun Jul 31 02:35:25 CAT 2016

Politicians approached by powerful business people must come forward: Mantashe

Mpho Raborife | 17 March, 2016 16:43
Gwede Mantashe.
Image by: Simphiwe Nkwali / Simphiwe Nkwali / Sunday Times

More politicians within the ANC who have been approached by influential business people should come forward about their personal experiences to help the party address the problem of corporate capture, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

"The people who have stories to tell, we are welcoming them... they must come to the ANC, we will listen very carefully," Mantashe told broadcaster eNCA.

He said the party wanted to deal with the big picture of politicians being influenced by powerful businesses, instead of narrowing it down to just a few individuals.

"We will deal with the broader picture; we are refusing to be narrow in dealing with this matter because the threat is bigger than this one incident," he said.

Mantashe was referring to the recent confirmation by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that he was offered the job of finance minister by the Gupta family before Nhlanhla Nene was removed in December 2015.

'Mafia state'

The Gupta family denied Jonas' claims, saying their family was being used for "political point scoring between rival factions within the ANC".

Mantashe said the ruling party had raised the topic of corporate capture during its January lekgotla as a matter that needed to be addressed with urgency.

"We raised a threat dealing with corporate capture and that threat is real and we must deal with it," he said.

"When you corrupt individual politicians to actually act as your proxies in the structures of the ANC, you are corrupting those ANC [politicians]. That is what develops into corporate capture, then I come to meetings of the ANC [and] I come as an agent of business interests, then I am captured.

"And when we do that, then we take the power to influence the state, we outsource it, then it becomes state capture," said Mantashe.

If this development was not addressed soon, it had the potential to lead the country towards becoming a "mafia state", he said. "When we drift into that, we are in trouble."

Jonas' revelation was one incident that would add to many others which the ANC would analyse and deal with, he said.

'Arrest that development'

On Tuesday, former ANC MP and parliamentary caucus chairperson, Vytjie Mentor, added her voice to the conversation when she alleged the Guptas had offered her a ministerial job at their home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, while President Jacob Zuma sat in an adjoining room.

The allegation was made on Facebook on Monday night in response to Democratic Alliance member Johann Abrie's post about the Guptas allegedly offering Jonas the finance minister job.

Despite her allegation, Zuma claimed he had "no recollection of Ms Mentor and is not aware of the alleged incidents in her career".

Returning from her holiday in Thailand on Wednesday, Mentor rejected Zuma's claim and listed a number of times she had interacted with him.

The Guptas have since denied offering either Mentor or Jonas any Cabinet positions.

Mantashe on Thursday said the ruling party needed to deal with what appeared to be a developing problem.

"The responsibility of the ANC as a governing party is to arrest that development and this process of people coming to the fore will give the ANC capacity and ammunition to deal with that reality and arrest it."

Source: News 24

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