Johannesburg – ANC head of elections and former sport and police minister Fikile Mbalula has pleaded with other party leaders implicated in evidence before the commission of inquiry into state capture to come forward and testify.
Mbalula, who testified at the commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, refused to hold back as he revealed how he had advised fellow ANC members several years ago about the Gupta family’s influence in state affairs – but no one cared to listen. Mbalula also used the platform to clarify claims that he was offered the position of sport and recreation minister by Ajay Gupta in 2010.
The former ANC Youth League president denied he was presented with the position by the Guptas, pointing out that Ajay called him weeks before former president Jacob Zuma, reshuffled his cabinet in October 2010.
Speaking on the sidelines after giving evidence, Mbalula said other ANC leaders, current and former cabinet ministers implicated in state capture, should state their cases.
“I say to them, come forward, if you don’t come forward you will be subpoenaed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mbalula poured cold water on suggestions that revelations at the commission would harm the ANC’s election campaign ahead of the May 8 polls.
“Many people view this as affecting the ANC adversely, negatively in the context of the election campaign. I don’t think so,” Mbalula said.
Despite a barrage of tough questions from evidence leader Leah Gcabashe, on inconsistencies in his statement at the commission and facts presented during his interview with former public protector Thuli Madonsela, Mbalula insisted that this was the first time he was giving an elaborate and extensive account of his encounters with the controversial Gupta family.
Mbalula said he spoke out about the Guptas at an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting in August 2011 because it was the appropriate forum and understood that the family was a political problem.
“Issues of the Guptas were informing public discourse,” he said.
He said the ANC NEC under Zuma was reluctant to discuss the Guptas and only did so when their scandals hit the media.
The commission will resume on Monday.