Duarte ‘very keen’ to tes­tify on Gupta me­dia

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Carol Pa­ton and Genevieve Quin­tal Writer at Large

The gov­ern­ing ANC’s deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte said on Wed­nes­day she was “very keen” to ap­pear be­fore the Zondo com­mis­sion into state cap­ture to talk about her in­ter­ac­tion with the Gupta fam­ily’s me­dia op­er­a­tions.

ANN7 and The New Age, the now de­funct tele­vi­sion news sta­tion and news­pa­per, played an overtly fac­tional role in the ANC’s in­ter­nal bat­tles ahead of the party’s con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber 2017, at­tack­ing de­trac­tors of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and putting out a nar­ra­tive of a plot against Zuma engi­neered by sup­port­ers of “white monopoly cap­i­tal”.

“I’m happy to dis­cuss meet­ings I had with Moegsien Wil­liams [ed­i­tor of The New Age]. I am not afraid to say that we did dis­cuss a me­dia that would give the ANC un­mit­i­gated space for its views … What­ever hap­pened after that was some­thing else,” she said at a me­dia brief­ing in Cape Town.

Duarte also re­peated the ANC’s com­mit­ment to go to the com­mis­sion of in­quiry, chaired by deputy chief jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo, to an­swer ac­cu­sa­tions that it had tried to strong-arm banks that had closed Gupta bank ac­counts.

Duarte, who took part in the meet­ings, said no spe­cific clients were dis­cussed at any point.

The party has come un­der pub­lic pres­sure to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion as the per­cep­tion grows that it is the ANC that in fact should be on trial, given the in­volve­ment of its lead­er­ship in cor­rupt deal­ings with the Gup­tas, who are said to have used their as­so­ci­a­tion with Zuma to cor­rupt a num­ber of vi­tal state in­sti­tu­tions.

Duarte said the ANC’s top six of­fi­cials had de­cided that it must dis­close the de­tails about its meet­ings with the banks as these had been held in the ANC’s of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity. The in­volve­ment of ANC lead­ers in deal­ings with the Gup­tas that were not on be­half of the ANC was some­thing those in­di­vid­u­als would have to an­swer them­selves.

On Wed­nes­day, the com­mis­sion’s le­gal team ap­plied for the post­pone­ment of the testi- monies of for­mer and cur­rent pub­lic en­ter­prise min­is­ters, Bar­bara Ho­gan and Pravin Gord­han, to give those im­pli­cated time to re­spond or to ap­ply for cross-ex­am­i­na­tion.

Ho­gan, whose tes­ti­mony im­pli­cates the for­mer pres­i­dent, will now only tes­tify on Novem­ber 12, with Gord­han to fol­low on Novem­ber 15.

Novem­ber 15 the date on which Gord­han is ex­pected to tes­tify

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