The day I turned down R600 million from the Guptas - Mcebisi Jonas
This is an extract from Thuli Madonsela's report State of Capture where she interviewed Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas...
I interviewed the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas (Mr Jonas) to establish facts regarding allegations that he was offered a Cabinet post my members of the Gupta family. He informed me of the following:
Mr Hlongwane, whom Mr Jonas knew very well as a comrade, initiated discussions with him about a meeting with Mr D. Zuma.
He agreed to the meeting although with reservations as he was aware that Mr D. Zuma was working with members of the Gupta family for financial gain.
He gave permission to Mr Hlongwane to provide his mobile number to Mr D. Zuma.
On 17 October 2015, he received several text messages from Mr D. Zuma.
The initial messages were about the invitation to attend the South African Awards Ceremony hosted by the Gupta family.
The event was scheduled for 18 October 2015 and Mr Jonas declined the invite due to his busy schedule.
On 23 October 2015, Mr Jonas agreed to meet with Mr D. Zuma.
The meeting started at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Rosebank.
Mr Jonas arrived early and waited for Mr D. Zuma.
Mr D. Zuma later arrived and a short while into the meeting, indicated that the place was crowded and he needed to move to a more private place for a discussion with a third party to which he agreed. The location was not disclosed to him.
Using Mr D. Zuma’s vehicle, they travelled together to what later Mr Jonas found to be the Gupta family residence in Saxonwold.
He was unfamiliar with the area and had never been to the Gupta family residence before.
They arrived at a “compound like residence” with security guards.
As they arrived, Mr Hlongwane alighted from his car to join them.
Once inside the residence, they were joined by Mr Ajay Gupta, whom Mr Jonas had never met before and recognised him from articles in the press.
During the meeting, there was no exchange of pleasantries. Mr Ajay Gupta informed him that they had been gathering intelligence on him and those close to him.
He apparently indicated that they were well aware of his activities and his connections to Mr Mantashe and the Treasurer of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize (Dr Mkhize), alleging that he was part of a faction or process towards undermining President Zuma.
Mr Ajay Gupta informed Mr Jonas that they were going to make him Minister of Finance. Mr Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement.
He declined the position and informed Mr Ajay Gupta that only the President of the Republic can make such decisions.
He informed Mr Ajay Gupta that he was leaving. At no stage did Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane speak during the meeting. They were told to sit down when I indicated that I was leaving.
Mr Ajay Gupta continued to speak. He disclosed names of “Comrades” they were working with and providing protection to. He mentioned that collectively as a family, they “made a lot of money from the State” and they wanted to increase the amount from R6 billion to R8 billion and that a bulk of their funds were held in Dubai.
According to Mr Jonas, Mr A. Gupta further indicated that National Treasury were a stumbling block to the family’s business ambitions. As part of the offer to become a Finance Minister, Mr Jonas would be expected to remove the current Director General of National Treasury and other key members of Executive Management.
Mr A. Gupta apparently mentioned that his family has made Mr D. Zuma a Billionnaire and that he has a house in Dubai.
As Mr Jonas was walking towards the door, Mr A. Gupta made a further offer of R600 million to be deposited in an account of his choice. He asked if Mr Jonas had a bag which he could use to receive and carry R600,000 in cash immediately, which he declined.
He then asked Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to transport him to the airport. On the way to the airport, Mr Jonas apparently asked both Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to explain why he was not informed that he would be meeting with members of the Gupta family. They all agreed to meet the following Tuesday to discuss the issue and the meeting never took place.
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He later contacted Mr Hlongwane to inform him of his unhappiness about the meeting.
Immediately after the meeting, he informed former Minister of Finance Mr Nhlanhla Nene. He later also informed current Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordan and Mr Zweli Mkhize of the ANC about the offer.
On 16 March 2016, he released a statement after the media started reporting on the matter.