Mantashe: Oakbay feared job losses after accounts were closed

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has described two meetings with business affiliates of the Gupta family in which they wanted the governing party to intervene in the closure of bank accounts belonging to the family’s business interests.

Gwede Mantashe before the start of his testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, on November 27 2018.
Image: Masi Losi

Testifying before the state capture inquiry on Tuesday, Mantashe – who was the party’s secretary-general when the accounts were closed in 2016 – said his office received a letter from Oakbay’s chief executive, Nazeem Howa.

He said Howa wanted to discuss potential jobs losses and that a number of banks had ceased to work with the company to the extent that it became “virtually impossible” for them to continue business in South Africa.

Mantashe, along with his then deputy Jessie Duarte and the ANC’s economic transformation subcommittee chairman Enoch Godongwana, met with Howa on two occasions.

“We didn’t just wake up and call the banks. There were quite a number of issues that put pressure on us to seek clarity on how the banks were working.

“The issue of the closure of the bank accounts of Oakbay, in particular, was a topical matter in the public domain. Oakbay came to the ANC mainly emphasising the possibility of the loss of jobs,” Mantashe said.

“Many of the organisations they lobbied was [in order] to put pressure on the banks to reconsider their decision to close the accounts, they thought we would join the campaign.

“We took a decision that we can’t deal with this issue from one angle, we need to get the view of the banks, [on] how they operate and what leads to the closure of accounts,” Mantashe told the inquiry.

BY AMIL UNRAW- TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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