Zwane: Just give us a chance in Parliament's portfolio committees

The former mineral resources minister said on Thursday he didn't understand why people were being so hard on him and his other colleagues.

FILE: Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Thursday called on South Africans to give him a chance as he prepared to start his role as the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on transport.

Zwane and other former president Jacob Zuma allies, such as Faith Muthambi and Supra Mahumapelo, were revealed on Wednesday as the ANC's nominated people to chair several portfolio committees in Parliament.

Ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's first State of the Nation speech as elected head of state, Zwane said on Thursday he didn't understand why people were being so hard on him and his other colleagues. He said their names were cleared by the ANC's integrity commission.

"Give us a chance to do our work. Criticise us where you think we are wrong. Give us credit when we are doing well. This issue of 'perceived' and 'alleged' has been cleared," he added. "We'll not let the organisation down... Support us ... we know we are doing some good things."

The ANC was heavily criticised for nominating these former ministers and others accused of corruption and state capture to chair parliamentary portfolio committees, whose responsibility it would be to hold the executive to account.

In 2017, Parliament's legal services said former Communications Minister Muthambi tried to mislead Parliament's ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board. The Democratic Alliance asked then-speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete to lay criminal charges against her.

Mahumapelo was forced to resign as premier of the North West in 2018 after violent protests calling for him to go. The province was placed under national government administration and an interministerial committee was appointed to investigate governance grievances.

Bongani Bongo, who was accused by the evidence leader of Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at Eskom of trying to bribe him, was also on the ANC's list, as was Tina Joemat-Pettersson and former deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi.

Committee chairs would be elected once committees convened in the first week of July.

When asked when he would be clearing his name of allegations of state capture, Zwane said he did not decline to go to the commission.

"I don't know why you guys are so desperate that Mosebenzi Zwane must go to the [state capture] commission. Mosebenzi Zwane will go to the commission if called," he said.

Zwane said he was looking forward to a positive speech from the president at Sona, highlighting poverty, joblessness and landlessness as issues.

"My expectation is that the president will be dealing with these issues," he said.