The African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has spoken out for the first time, in the wake of that damning audio clip, where she is heard saying former president Jacob Zuma should not appear before the State Capture Commission. The audio was leaked and circulated online – and now Duarte has blamed supporters of secretary general Ace Magashule in Luthuli House for the leak.
Duarte did not hold back in an interview with the SABC on Thursday, 15 April 2021, but said she didn’t believe Magashule himself was behind the move.
“I think it is people who are in support of the secretary-general who are doing this, frankly and honestly speaking, whoever they might be,” Duarte said.
“I don’t think it’s the SG himself, but I think it’s people who support him, who are sitting in a dark room somewhere cooking up all manner of, pardon me for saying this, crazy antics”
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte
In the clip, which was of a March virtual meeting, Duarte can also be heard condemning the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
“The unfortunate way in which judge Zondo presented himself after he presided as Comrade Zuma over his own case regarding bias and also made statements about ‘he’s not my friend’, I think it doesn’t auger well for a judge to go into that granular kind of detail,” she said.
Jessie Duarte sticking to her comments in leaked audio
The audio leak undoubtedly makes things somewhat awkward for Jessie Duarte, particularly because the ANC NEC has opted to support the State Capture Commission and its work.
Duarte told the SABC that despite her personal thoughts on the commission, she abided by the ANC’s decision to support it.
“The position of my organisation is that we support the Zondo commission. I respect that position irrespective of my own views. We respect the commission,” she said.
“We go to the commission. I was there yesterday. I went with Gwede Mantashe. We prepared the submission of Gwede Mantashe together with Krish Naidoo (the party’s legal adviser at the commission). I have sent to the Zondo commission three separate submissions they asked me to do,” Duarte added.
The ANC is expected to give more evidence to the commission, as president Cyril Ramaphosa will soon take the stand.