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Claiming ignorance on state capture won't wash, says Jonas

28 August 2017 - 06:30 By Olebogeng Molatlhwa
Mcebisi Jonas, former deputy finance minister
Mcebisi Jonas, former deputy finance minister

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has rubbished ANC leaders who now claim not to have known about instances of state capture.

Jonas suggested that it was disingenuous of these leaders to claim ignorance. Without mentioning names, Jonas questioned their stewardship of the country.

"It has become common now for the leadership of the ruling party to say: 'We didn't know.' And I get worried when leaders don't see anything wrong with that ... because it speaks to the kind of people who are running this country."

He was speaking at a youth state-capture forum hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on Saturday at the Apartheid Museum, in Johannesburg.

Jonas said that since coming to power the ANC had failed to devise a way of relating to private business and this was a severe weakness.

The difficulty faced by the party was that if it confronted private business too harshly businesses might leave, but if they were not engaged with they would not invest.

He called for measured engagement.

"Part of our weakness as the ruling party is that we have not been forthright about how we engage with private business. Private business needs to be engaged but in a way that creates public confidence ... and steered towards transformation," he said.

President Jacob Zuma fired Jonas and finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March.