Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor will be part of the witnesses called at the first hearings of the Zondo commission into state capture.

This means that the first evidence the commission will receive is about the influence of the controversial Gupta family on the appointment of ministers and boards to state-owned entities, in former president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet and administration.

The commission was established by Zuma, and will be headed up by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The commission, which starts on Monday, will look into the malfeasance in which high-profile politicians including Zuma, have been directly or indirectly implicated, according to a report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

In a public statement released by the Treasury in March 2016, Jonas said Ajay Gupta had offered him a job as finance minister to replace Nhlanhla Nene.

Nene, who was finance minister at the time, was axed from his post in December 2015. He was reappointed to the position in 2018 after Zuma was forced to resign as president after being recalled by the ANC in February.

Mentor had also alleged that the Guptas had offered her a ministerial role, shortly after Jonas had released the bombshell statement.

The commission had said that apart from Jonas and Mentor, the witnesses called would also include veteran Treasury staffer Willie Mathebula, former head of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Themba Maseko, and Phumla Williams, the deputy director-general of the GCIS.

"There are other witnesses whom the legal team is in the process of identifying and/or consulting with," the commission said on Friday.