‘I always follow the party line’: deputy minister stuns judge Raymond Zondo
If I perish, then so be it - but the ANC comes first and everything else follows.
This, essentially, was the view expressed by deputy transport minister Dikeledi Magadzi on Monday.
Magadzi was testifying at the state capture inquiry about the conduct of parliament’s portfolio committee on transport, which she chaired during the fifth parliament.
She told a stunned inquiry chairperson, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, that she was proud to always follow the party line when voting on issues in parliament. This she would always do, come rain or shine - even if the ANC was wrong in its instruction, she insisted.
Magadzi was defending her decision to vote in rejection of a DA-sponsored motion for parliament to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate the alleged Gupta family hold on government in 2016.
Magadzi said the ANC had instructed her and other party members to vote against the motion, and said she “did exactly that”.
Would she do the same today, having new facts on the Gupta family’s alleged misdemeanors, asked Zondo?
Magadzi was emphatic that she would “always follow my party’s line”.
“When I am in parliament I am representing the ANC and I will always make sure I toe the party line,” said Magadzi.
“On the motion [by the DA to establish an ad-hoc committee], the ANC said we are not going to support that motion. When the party says this is the route we are going to take, you cannot deviate.
“I did not ask the reason why. I believe when my party says we are not going to support the motion, I do exactly just that,” she said.
“I did not go to parliament of my own accord, I went to parliament representing the ANC. Knowing what I know now, I still believe what the party had instructed us to do was correct.”
Magadzi also defended her committee’s decision not to investigate allegations when she was chairperson that the Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane had attempted to rig the tender system regarding the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) for the procurement of locomotives worth R51bn.
The committee had also ignored allegations by then Prasa boss Lucky Montana that the Guptas had tried to have their associates appointed to the Prasa board.
Magadzi said then Prasa board chairperson Popo Molefe had asked law enforcement agencies to investigate the allegations and therefore there was no need for her committee to do the same.
Zondo was again “disappointed” and pressured Magadzi to eventually change her view on the matter after a lengthy verbal exchange.
“I accept the fact that the committee should have done something,” conceded Magadzi.