Some of the witnesses at the inquiry, as well as others who pushed back against the Guptas, say they reported their experiences to Mantashe. The response many of them received was that they should not do anything to cause “disunity” in the ANC.

Mantashe said this publicly in November 2016 while explaining the ANC’s decision to rebuff public calls for former president Jacob Zuma to step down. This was after the release of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture, which pointed to Zuma’s role in enabling the Gupta brothers’ improper control of the state.

“We took a decision that let’s work on the unity of the ANC because this organisation must be viable, united and strong. A fragmented ANC is bad for South Africa,” Mantashe said.

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