Jessie Duarte keen to appear before Zondo Commission

10 October 2018 - 13:44 By Andisiwe Makinana
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
Image: Gallo Images

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has revealed that she is keen to appear before the ongoing Zondo commission of inquiry to talk about the party’s role in the establishment of the Gupta-owned media houses‚ ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.

"By the time I got into the picture‚ that was a well-established fact. I'm very willing to go and talk about meetings I held with Moegsien Williams‚ I have no problem with that‚ I have nothing to hide‚ not afraid that we did discuss a media that would give the ANC unmitigated space to put its policies forward. I would do that with pleasure‚" she said.

Duarte has also encouraged others with relevant information to make themselves available to the commission.

She described state capture as "a particular condition" and said that hopefully at some point the country would move from just examining one family but look at what was happening at a local level where there were links with people who demanded leadership and how this related to their business interests.

"The ultimate thing is that when a person has benefited directly from having made a connection‚ that is corrupt and that is what it is and hopefully in the Zondo commission‚ that is what will be proved."

Duarte was addressing journalists in Cape Town a day after Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene resigned following a furore over his lies regarding meetings with the controversial Gupta family. Nene apologised for the contradictions and later resigned.

Duarte revealed that Nene had not informed the party of his decision to resign nor whether he would remain an MP. “Comrade Nene hasn’t spoken to the ANC at all‚ so we are not sure what his plans are. We only know that he resigned and it was announced yesterday.

“We appreciate the fact that he chose to resign after the furore that took place after his own submission to the commission. He is a valued person in the ANC and we think that he has made a contribution to our country. We believe that he made a decision that sat well with himself and we appreciate that.”

Duarte said the ANC welcomed the appointment of Tito Mboweni to replace Nene‚ describing him as a veteran of the ANC who had a vast wealth of experience in policy formulation within the governing party and was an integral part of the ANC’s economic transformation committees at Luthuli House long before his appointment as labour minister.

“We are speaking about a person who is very au fait with the direction that the governing party hopes to go. Primarily his appointment is to ensure the implementation of the stimulus package that the president talked about. We also all know that the stimulus package differs a little from what the ANC has pronounced over the last 10 years‚” she said.

Duarte said the ANC had full confidence in Mboweni’s ability to ensure that there were moves towards the recovery of the economy.

“He is also very well respected internationally and as governor of the SA Reserve Bank had interacted a great deal with other governors and we believe that does stand us in good stead‚” she added.

Duarte said they were concerned with the perception that the ANC was on trial and even more concerned that whatever generated perceptions in the Zondo Commission should be based on facts.

“We are concerned that it should not be a perspective of a view that is put about an individual that governs how the commission will finally make its own conclusions.

“It is correct for anyone who has information that will assist the Zondo Commission to make themselves available as a participant.”

On whether other public representatives should resign from their positions‚ Duarte said this “will depend on the individuals and how they present themselves and what they put to the Zondo Commission and how that is understood and what culpability might be inferred in what they are saying … whether they've gone out of their way to ensure a particular family benefited very directly from the state's coffers or whether they were treating this family like any other business in the country”.

"Whoever goes there must be factual themselves and not attempt to say one thing now that they didn’t say before."