JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) chair Gwede Mantashe confirmed to journalist that he went to the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound on two occasions to discuss the establishment of the family’s now-defunct The New Age newspaper.

On Tuesday, Mantashe testified at the inquiry on behalf of the ANC.

He told the Zondo commission that the party met with some of the country’s big banks to discuss the closure of their accounts with Gupta businesses because the ANC was concerned about potential job losses.

He also talked about how the ANC felt pressured from Gupta owned company, Oakbay, to communicate with the banks on why their accounts were closed.

Mantashe confirmed that he’s never met the Guptas alone after his testimony, as he spoke to reporters.

“I never had a meeting with the Guptas aside on my own. The Guptas came to Luthuli House, I met them, even when Vuyo Mvoko and Karima Brown were setting up the newspaper, we met them and that’s it. I met them as secretary-general of ANC.”

Asked if he went to the family’s Saxonwold compound, “I was there twice when we were dealing with the establishment of the New Age, but they were in Luthuli House close to 10 times. That’s shows the balance.”

Mantashe said he will explain his interactions with the Gupta family when he returns to the commission.

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina tweeted about the inquiry, “quite frankly, we are subjected to sheer gossip here”.

Mantashe’s said as ANC members continue to testify, it’s not dividing the party, as some members have been implicated.

“If we accuse this commission of any division or symbolise of the division to the commission, we will be economical with facts; it can’t be. The commission is dealing with issues that have been bothering for a long time.

“The fact that we agreed the commission is going to be established, we knew that there were difficult issues and we needed an independent body to deal with them and this commission is such an independent body. We are quite comfortable with the work that it’s doing, that’s why we started with that opening statement.”

Photo credit- EWN

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