Mantashe finding puts Ramaphosa on spot
Shortly after the presidency released the third instalment of the report on state capture, mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe said he would ask a court to review the damning findings made against him.
The report, released earlier this week, details how a private but well-connected company, Bosasa, bribed government and ANC officials to win multimillion-rand tenders.
Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo, who headed the state capture inquiry, recommended that as many as 60 individuals and entities be investigated and possibly prosecuted.
They include Mantashe, who is also the ANC’s chair, former president Jacob Zuma, several MPs and current and former members of the executive, along with a range of former senior government officials.
In its first two reports the commission recommended about 20 possible prosecutions.
Mantashe, who was instrumental in bringing President Cyril Ramaphosa to power and who was not linked to the notorious Guptas’ circle, said the report contained “technical mistakes” that required a judicial review.
Until such a review was completed and the ANC had requested him to step aside, he would not step down from leadership in the government and the party.
This places Ramaphosa in a tricky position.
The president needs to demonstrate his will to implement his much-repeated promise to crack down on graft.
Failure to act against a senior colleague and comrade would jar with this intent.
Moreover, there are growing calls for the ruling party to censure members who are implicated in state capture.
But Ramaphosa has to juggle this with political considerations and may find it difficult to take action ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.
Though one can sympathise with Ramaphosa’s dilemma, the state capture inquiry findings reveal not only the shocking extent to which the ANC and many of its top cadres have been mired in corrupt practices, but how they created the very conditions that allow corruption to flourish.
Until this is tackled head on, SA will not have a clean slate.
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