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Mbalula: No ANC NEC members backed me when I raised Gupta issue in meeting

The ANC's head of elections and former Cabinet member is in the hot seat at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday.

A screengrab of ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula at the Zondo Commission on 22 March 2019.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that he received a congratulatory phone call from one of the Guptas before he'd been informed he'd been promoted to Cabinet.

The ANC's head of elections and former Cabinet member is in the hot seat at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday.

He's told the commission that he raised the phone call in an ANC NEC meeting and warned that if the issue was not dealt with, it would lead to trouble for the party.

"I raised the Gupta issue in a meeting of the ANC national executive committee. As you would have known, the matter was all over the place, everybody talking about the Guptas this and that, about the influence of they were exerting on the leadership and the influence they have, particularly the president."

He described the response from the ANC NEC when he raised his concerns about the Guptas.

"I think many people were bowing, looking down and you could hear the drop of [a pin] when I raised the issue. It became quiet, people were shrinking in their chairs."

Mbalula says that one NEC member, whom he wouldn't name, stood up and rubbished his claims.

Though he acknowledged that a number of NEC members came up to him after the meeting to congratulate his bravery, not a single member backed him when he raised the issue.

"I did not even have seconders in that meeting. Minister Manuel was there and nobody said 'but what Mbalula is raising is a serious matter for us and how do we react to it?' Nobody."

Mbalula told the commission that he didn't take this lack of support in the meeting personally because of the nature of politics.

"I understood, shame, because when you are a Cabinet minister, you owe your plate and everything to the president. So you can't stand up in a meeting against the president because you can be reshuffled at night."

Responding to former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's earlier testimony he said that it was correct in all aspects but one - that being that it was Ajay Gupta that phoned him and not his brother Atul.

"What Trevor Manuel says, it is incorrect in the sense that it was not Atul, it was Ajay gupta who gave me a call. As to whether I cried or not, I was emotional about it. The emotions just come because if you feel deeply about something, that just shakes you."

Mbalula added that the ANC has been grappling with sins of incumbency, including corruption and patronage since 1996.

Asked to explain what his views are about how the capture of the state manifested, the former Police Minister said that it is politically incorrect that state resources were being looted and redirected to individuals because of their proximity to those in power.

"From 1996 to date, we have been grappling with patronage and [trying] to deal with this, including its effects."

WATCH: Fikile Mbalula testifies on Gupta dealings at Zondo Commission

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