Seven explosive revelations from the state capture inquiry
There has been explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in recent weeks. Here are seven statements that left many shocked.
Mzwanele Manyi’s preference for The New Age
Former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head Mzwanele Manyi gave the commission his reason for choosing to spend a substantial amount of government money on advertising in the Gupta-owned publication The New Age.
He said the newspaper did not only focus on the government’s shortcomings but also its good deeds that mainstream media did not report on.
“The posture of The New Age was the complete opposite. It was a posture of saying ‘the glass is half full’, as opposed to the glass is half empty, so it was a very welcome posture.”
Phumla Williams on alleged abuse by Faith Muthambi
Phumla Williams testified that former communications minister Faith Muthambi was abusive towards her while she worked at the GCIS.
She said: “I had panic attacks. I saw torture going through my body again. I never thought in this government people can do such things.”
Gordhan’s encounters with the Guptas
In what was a much-expected appearance, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan told the commission that there were no formal meetings between him and the Guptas, but that he had been at a meeting where a Gupta family member was present.
“I had forgotten of another instance. One of the Gupta brothers may have been present at a meeting I had with billionaire Indian businessman Anil Ambani.”
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC and the Gupta bank accounts
ANC chair Gwede Mantashe confirmed that the Guptas had asked the ANC to intervene with the banks on their behalf.
This was after SA’s major banks ceased doing business with Gupta-owned entities, among them Oakbay.
“Many of the organisations they lobbied was to put pressure on the banks to reopen their accounts and they actually thought that we’ll join in that campaign as the ANC.”
Zuma was warned
When he appeared before the commission, former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the national executive had repeatedly warned Jacob Zuma about his “toxic” relationship with the Gupta family.
“We would say to him: ‘This relationship of yours with these guys is toxic, why don’t you end it?’”
He claimed Zuma would reply: “Those people are my friends because they helped my children when I was persona non grata.”
Waterkloof air force base Gupta landing
Ramatlhodi also testified that, for him, the landing of the Gupta wedding party at the Waterkloof air force base was “the last insult”.
He said: “I felt they were insulting even the president because what they were doing was to show off, you know, that they had captured the republic. It’s theirs. They are not presidents, but they can land at an air force base.”
SAA pressured to advertise in The New Age
Cheryl Carolus said that while she was the chair of the SAA board, then public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba encouraged the national carrier to place adverts in The New Age.
“What we were being asked had a financial implication,” she said. “TNA was new and whilst one had a sympathy for diversity, there was a state entity to help new entrants into the market.”