‘Pro-Zuma’ ANC MPs go rogue

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

Di­vi­sions have emerged in the ANC par­lia­men­tary cau­cus af­ter a num­ber of pro-Ja­cob Zuma MPs were ac­cused of try­ing to di­lute a loom­ing in­quiry into Gupta-linked state cap­ture by ask­ing that the in­quiry also look at cer­tain fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing Na­tional Trea­sury. The MPs ap­proached Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane, ask­ing her to in­clude Trea­sury, the SA Re­serve Bank, the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre, the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Board, with­out in­form­ing their party bosses, the ANC said. ANC chief whip Jack­son Mthembu re­vealed this week that he was not aware of this ac­tion and dis­tanced the ANC cau­cus from the MPs’ ac­tions. ANC deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte also de­nied in­struct­ing or en­cour­ag­ing the MPs to go to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor as two MPs had in­di­cated to City Press. Two anti-Zuma MPs have claimed that the pro-Zuma fac­tion is try­ing to min­imise the im­pact of the Gup­tas’ al­leged role in state cap­ture and were de­flect­ing in re­quest­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Trea­sury. The Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s of­fice has con­firmed a re­quest for the state cap­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tion to in­clude ma­jor fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. It sub­se­quently emerged that a num­ber of MPs and Cab­i­net min­is­ters whose names ap­pear as sig­na­to­ries on the let­ter to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor were ap­par­ently not part of the ac­tion nor were they aware of such ac­tion. These in­clude Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba. It is un­der­stood that 49 MPs signed the doc­u­ment. Con­fronted with a bar­rage of emails out­lin­ing a pat­tern of con­nec­tions be­tween the Gupta family, Cab­i­net min­is­ters and the lead­er­ship of state-owned en­ter­prises, the ANC has, for the first time, called on the govern­ment to act. At last week’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing, the party ac­cepted a pro­posal for the es­tab­lish­ment of a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture. One of the MPs who is a sig­na­tory to the re­quest sent to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor de­fended the de­ci­sion to go straight to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor with­out get­ting the bless­ing of the ANC cau­cus. “MPs have a duty to re­spond to the is­sues of their con­stituen­cies. We can’t take ev­ery­thing to the cau­cus,” said Loy­iso Mpuml­wana, who is one of the MPs who were called in to ex­plain them­selves this week. “It is true, we never dis­cussed it in cau­cus and we don’t have to dis­cuss ev­ery­thing in cau­cus,” he said. “We have con­stituen­cies, and this is­sue arose out of the things that were com­ing from the me­dia and out of the dis­cus­sions the fi­nance of­fi­cials dis­cov­ered. They dis­cov­ered that there are prob­lems in fi­nance. That needs to be in­ves­ti­gated. “All that the MPs were say­ing is that let’s broaden the scope of the state cap­ture [in­quiry]. That’s not a big is­sue. State cap­ture is un­fin­ished busi­ness from the pre­vi­ous Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor. Now you see there are re­ports in the me­dia that com­pa­nies like KPMG re­ceived cer­tain funds. If there are such things, it’s bet­ter that the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor in­ves­ti­gates them. It’s not a big deal.” Mpuml­wana said there were in fact more than 90 MPs who are sig­na­to­ries to the let­ter and that the list was grow­ing ev­ery day. He re­fused to say where the de­ci­sion to go to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor was taken. Duarte de­nied en­cour­ag­ing any­one to go the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor. She said that she met a group of MPs to­gether with ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe and that the group in­di­cated that they had a me­moran­dum to de­liver to the ANC. “They in­formed us at the gath­er­ing that an­other group was go­ing to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor. The group we met told us that they needed to go and up­date their me­moran­dum and the meet­ing ended,” said Duarte. On Thurs­day, Mthembu and other se­nior cau­cus lead­ers met five of the MPs to hear their rea­sons for go­ing to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor. “We called them to un­der­stand where they are com­ing from; what in­formed their ac­tions so that through dis­cus­sions we are able to find one an­other. We gave them am­ple op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with the cau­cus lead­er­ship; they did en­gage. I wouldn’t like to go to the nitty-gritty of the en­gage­ment, but we en­gaged with them for al­most two hours,” he said. Mthembu will re­port back to the ANC cau­cus “and we will take it from there”. He said he called the five MPs in af­ter see­ing them on ANN7 talk­ing about the mat­ter. “The mere fact that we called them in says a lot. If we were not wor­ried, we would not have called them,” he said. The meet­ing was not a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing or about shoot­ing down any ideas but to cor­rect pro­cesses by cau­cus mem­bers, said Mthembu. “We all be­long to a cau­cus, we are not free agents,” said Mthembu.

TALK TO US Do you agree that fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions should be probed as well, or is there no merit to the MPs’ re­quest?

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Jessie Duarte

Jack­son Mthembu

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