More testimony postponed at state capture inquiry
Nhlanhla Nene, Pravin Gordhan, Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor have had their appearances before the inquiry postponed this week
A number of oral testimonies to be given to the state capture inquiry have been postponed this week.
On Thursday, former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene lodged an application to have his second appearance before the commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, postponed.
It is not clear what evidence Nene will give in his second round of testimony.
Nene, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor have had their appearances before the inquiry postponed this week.
Jonas was meant to appear before the commission on Wednesday to be cross-examined by lawyers for former president Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane Zuma. Jonas applied to have this postponed.
Nene was subpoenaed to appear before the commission on Thursday. His legal representative, advocate Adila Hassim, told the commission that Nene was not able to appear because he had fractured his ankle and his doctor had advised that he not travel because there was a risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Nene has told the commission that he will be available to appear again from January 1.
At his first appearance Nene testified about how he believed Zuma fired him as finance minister in December 2015 because he would not sign off on certain projects such as the nuclear deal with Russia.
Nene had also testified about his interactions with the Gupta family. Following the testimony he resigned as finance minister. This was after he had previously said he had not met the Guptas except at public events. At the commission he admitted to attending meetings at the Saxonwold compound.
Zondo granted the application on Thursday to postpone his appearance.
Mentor was also meant to appear for a second time in front of the inquiry on Thursday, but the commission's legal team asked to have it postponed as they were still busy with investigations linked to her evidence.
Mentor had previously told the commission that she was called to a meeting at the Guptas’ home in 2010 and offered the job of public enterprises minister if she agreed to terminate SAA’s Johannesburg to Mumbai route. Mentor said she refused.
Shortly after this, Barbara Hogan was fired as public enterprises minister and replaced by Malusi Gigaba. Hogan appeared before the commission this week and also testified that she believed that Zuma had axed her because she would not do his bidding.
She accused Zuma of interfering in the appointment of boards and CEOs at state-owned enterprises, which he had no authority to do, and ultimately infringed on her executive powers as a minister.
The commission's legal team asked for Mentor's appearance to be postponed to November 30, to which Zondo agreed.
‘‘If her evidence is ultimately found to be true by this commission it could have very serious implications for implicated persons, at least some of them, and if her evidence is not true it could be serious consequences also because her evidence is very pertinent to some of the issues we are investigating,’’ Zondo said.
‘‘It is important the investigation of the issues be properly looked into.’’
The commission will commence on Monday when Gordhan is expected to give his oral evidence.
Former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head Mzwanele Manyi will also return to the commission next week Friday, when he will be questioned by the legal team.
On Thursday, Manyi gave evidence about his time at GCIS, after current government spokesperson Phumla Williams implicated him in her testimony.
Manyi became GCIS head in February 2011 when Themba Maseko was fired by former president Jacob Zuma. Maseko testified that he was fired after he refused to do the Guptas’ bidding.