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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.

One of the strangest developments from the state capture inquiry was ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe’s decision to publicly discredit the evidence of former MP Vytjie Mentor. Mantashe told EWN that “the whole story is actually a fake” in response to Mentor’s claim that she informed him and his deputy about the alleged offer by the Guptas in 2010 to make her the minister of Public Enterprises. Mentor was admittedly hazy on a number of details in her testimony, and stated incorrectly that the ANC deputy secretary-general was Jessie Duarte. Thandi Modise was Mantashe’s deputy at the time. But whether Mentor’s testimony is plausible or falsified is up to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to decide, not an ANC official. It certainly should not be the person who tried to keep the lid on the state capture scandal until it exploded beyond his control. Some of the witnesses at the inquiry, as well as others who pushed back against the Guptas, say they reported their experiences to Mantashe. ...

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