Mantashe evades questions in PE on ‘dirty cash’ claims
JETTING into Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday to address the chaos that erupted at the ANC’s provincial elective conference earlier this month, Gwede Mantashe fobbed off questions about alleged secret payments to President Jacob Zuma and “dirty cash” funding his former wife’s campaign to replace him as party leader.
This as Zuma led a team to the Dr WB Rubusana area in East London, where he met Buffalo City ANC leaders, while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa went to the Amathole region.
Treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize was assigned to the Joe Gqabi region, while Mantashe was deployed to Nelson Mandela Bay.
Asked about the explosive allegations in The Sunday Times at the weekend that self-confessed smuggler, fraudster and money launderer Adriano Mazzotti was a contributor to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign, Mantashe was evasive. “I speak for the ANC,” he said. “If that person was funding the ANC, I would be responding.”
When it was pointed out that Dlamini-Zuma was a member of the ANC, Mantashe said: “There are many members of the ANC. Patrice Motsepe is a member of the ANC.”
The Mazzotti allegations are contained in journalist Jacques Pauw’s book, The President’s Keepers, which he quoted extensively in his frontpage article in The Sunday Times.
The book explores the life of flamboyant cigarette manufacturer Mazzotti and his links to Dlamini-Zuma.
Pauw also claimed that Zuma failed to submit a tax return for his first four years in office – which Zuma denied yesterday – and that for a few months into his presidency, Zuma was paid R1-million a month by a security company.
Pauw claimed further that Zuma owed millions of rands in fringe benefits tax because of upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.
He alleged that secret payments were also made to other members of the Zuma family, including the president’s son Edward.
Mantashe yesterday fobbed off all questions related to the allegations in the article.
However, he was frank about the problems which emerged at the elective conference in East London last month.
“You must remember there was an ANC conference in the province which became very chaotic and violent,” he said.
“Having received the report of the conference and the report of the provincial executive committee [PEC], and the concern by a group of comrades who feel many wrong things happened at that conference, we thought of talking to the branches of the ANC.”
The conference saw former ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane wrest power from Phumulo Masualle to become the party’s new provincial chairman.
It is believed Nelson Mandela Bay was one of the regions that did not attend the conference, but Mantashe said he had not asked why this had happened.
The conference was characterised by delays and violent clashes that left 28 people injured, while a faction that supported Masualle claimed bogus delegates were allowed to participate and vote.
Yesterday, hundreds of ANC members gathered at the Vista campus in Missionvale, where they had a closed session with Mantashe and other ANC leaders and branches.
Addressing the media afterwards, Mantashe – who was accompanied by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Bheki Cele – said: “I will only be satisfied if all the reports [of the conference] are put together and then I will make a determination.”
The visit to the Eastern Cape by the ANC’s top leaders follows complaints lodged by Masualle and his supporters about the legitimacy of the events leading to the election of Mabuyane and his executive.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the visits to the regions would be followed by a meeting in East London today between the national executive committee members and the PEC.