As the political fallout continued following this week’s release of former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report – one staggering disclosure in the highly explosive document was Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’ alleged outright refusal of R600 million from Ajay Gupta, the eldest brother at the forefront of the controversial Gupta family.
Jonas has been commended by South Africans for lifting the lid in March this year on alleged attempts by the Guptas to offer him the post of finance minister, provided that he would have been amenable to their orders.
Amid the massive praise Jonas has received, even Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane’s wife Natalie took to Twitter on Thursday to urge citizens to emulate such noble acts regardless of the temptation of money, just as the minister did.
Natalie’s tweet (which her husband retweeted) reads: “If ever someone offers you copious amounts of money to forget your integrity, ask yourself… #AskJonas” and she included a picture of the popular – What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD) – armbands that used to be everywhere on the arms of adherents of evangelical Christianity, particularly in the 90s, as a reminder of their convictions and moral imperative whenever faced by a moral dilemma.
The armband’s abbreviation was, however, changed to: What would Jonas do?
Madonsela in her report states that Jonas informed her that upon his arrival at the Guptas’ infamous Saxonwold compound in December last year – where they serve tea and most recently also apparently run a shebeen – “there was no exchange of pleasantries”.
Ajay informed him that they were going to make him minister of finance. Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement. He declined the position and informed Ajay that only President Jacob Zuma could make such decisions.
When Jonas was walking towards the door to leave, Ajay tried a further offer of R600 million to be deposited in an account of Jonas’s choice. Ajay asked if Jonas had a bag he could use to receive and carry R600,000 in cash right there.
Jonas declined the offer.
Do you agree that it may be a good idea to start getting all our public servants to start wearing “What Would Jonas Do?” armbands as a reminder that they should be leaving their empty money bags at home when they go to meetings with businesspeople?