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Mantashe: 'I never had a meeting with the Guptas on my own'

ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe says he is willing to explain his interactions with the Gupta family when he returns to the state capture commission of inquiry.

A video screengrab of ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe at the commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, on 27 November 2018. Picture: YouTube

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) chair Gwede Mantashe has confirmed that he went to the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound on two occasions to discuss the establishment of the family’s now-defunct The New Age newspaper.

Mantashe testified at the inquiry on Tuesday on behalf of the ANC.

He told the commission that the party met with some of the country’s major banks to discuss the closure of their accounts with Gupta businesses because the ANC was concerned about potential job losses.

During a media briefing after his testimony at the state capture commission, Mantashe confirmed that he’s never met the Guptas alone.

“I never had a meeting with the Guptas aside on my own. The Guptas came to Luthuli House, I met them, even when Vuyo Mvoko and Karima Brown were setting up the newspaper, we met them and that’s it. I met them as secretary-general of ANC.”

He was asked if he’s been to the controversial family’s Saxonwold compound.

“I was there twice when we were dealing with the establishment of the New Age, but they were in Luthuli House close to 10 times. That’s shows the balance.”

Mantashe says he is willing to explain his interactions with the Gupta family when he returns to the commission.

TESTIMONY NOT DIVIDING ANC

Mantashe said the testimony coming out of the state capture commission is not dividing the ANC.

Last week, the party condemned its own senior members who've questioned the integrity of the state capture commission and said the party would take action against them.

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina tweeted about the inquiry saying “quite frankly, we are subjected to sheer gossip here”.

Mantashe concluded his testimony on Tuesday in Parktown on behalf of the ANC.

He said while the testimony coming out of the commission implicates some ANC leaders, it’s not dividing the party.

“If we accuse this commission of any division or symbolise of the division to the commission, we will be economical with facts; it can’t be. The commission is dealing with issues that have been bothering for a long time.

“The fact that we agreed the commission is going to be established, we knew that there were difficult issues and we needed an independent body to deal with them and this commission is such an independent body. We are quite comfortable with the work that it’s doing, that’s why we started with that opening statement.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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