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South Africa’s State Capture Inquiry has today reached something of a peak, at least in terms of sheer drama.
Mcebisi Jonas, South Africa’s former deputy minister of finance, today testified in the Johannesburg inquiry stating that he was offered a bribe of some R600-million during a meeting with the Guptas in 2015 to become the new finance minister. He declined.
In a statement, Jonas provided chilling details of the meeting, suggesting the influence the Guptas had on the country at the time.
“He said that ‘you must understand that we are in control of everything’, the National Prosecution Authority, the Hawks and the National Intelligence Agency and that ‘the old man will do anything we tell him to’,” the statement revealed.
“The old man” likely refers to former President Jacob Zuma.
You can read the 20 page statement over on TimesLive.
While #StateCaptureInquiry trended for much of the week on Twitter in South Africa, Jonas found himself in the middle of it Friday afternoon.
Zwelinzima Vavi was among the most vocal political figures on Twitter.
“I don’t believe we will ever reach this the lowest point in our democracy! But then they say never say never!” he tweeted.
#McebisiJonas is spilling the beans! I don’t believe we will ever reach this the lowest point in our democracy! But then they say never say never!
— Zwelinzima Vavi (@Zwelinzima1) August 24, 2018
Other users focused on Jonas himself, calling him a “shining example of black leadership”.
A facial expression you pull off when someone offers you R600 mil …
— Sabata (@Sabattta) August 24, 2018
Let’s honour one of South Africa’s living heros today as he reveals more on the criminal network that almost destroyed our country. You have my thanks #McebisiJonas. #StateCaptureInquiry pic.twitter.com/EBc0AKLgrY
— Rowan Govender (@RowanGo) August 24, 2018
#mcebisijonas Is my hero, and a shining example of black leadership, integrity.
— Idlamanzi 🏳️🌈 (@Andi02751278) August 24, 2018
Others weren’t so kind, calling out perceived flaws in Jonas’s statement, paying particular attention to his confusion between Ajay and Rajesh Gupta.
This R600mn was it in cash? Cheque or EFT? If it was in EFT, where is the financial intelligence centre in all of this? If it was in cash, where is the money van company? I’m having a difficult time believing #McebisiJonas story. #StateCaptureInquiry https://t.co/JNRP69jTAo
— Koketso Moloko (@porklady) August 24, 2018
#McebisiJonas must demonstrate and bring money bags to show us how the R600M were arranged in the bags. Was there 4, 5 or 10 bags?
— Ramaphosa’s day is coming (@BubuLango) August 24, 2018
Some outright dismissed Jonas’s testimony.
What made the Guptas comfortable enough to approach #McebisiJonas about a corrupt proposal? Why would they think he would even consider such? Mcebisi is corrupt, I wouldn’t trust his testimony. #statecaptureinquiry
— Mission2021 (@iGrootman) August 24, 2018
— Matebese_Matebese (@GreenScarfSA) August 24, 2018
#McebisiJonas does not know who offered him the bribe. Zondo must dismiss the man already. With his own mouth,he says there is a possibility it could be either of the brothers. We must wait for the correct Gupta to voluntarily identify himself. Interesting. #StateCaptureInquiry
— Potrosa (@MandlaMagidela) August 24, 2018
Why didn’t he ask Duduzane what was the meeting about, where was the meeting gonna be held? Who would just hold a meeting with someone they’ve never met before without asking who they were? Is Jonas that stupid? It’s sure not gonna end well for #McebisiJonas #StateCaptureInquiry
— 🇿🇦Philani🇿🇦 (@Mpristo_ZN) August 24, 2018
And for those wondering where the GIFs are, here you go.
— Lesego Ntoahae (@ComradeKickass) August 24, 2018
Not funny enough? Here’s Chester Missing’s take.
The head of anti-corruption at the Hawks tried to corrupt Mcebisi Jonas. That's like a cop pulling you up and going:
Have you been smoking weed?
Do you want some?
— Chester Missing (@chestermissing) August 24, 2018
The inquiry continues in Johannesburg at the time of writing.