State Capture Inquiry

Pravin Gordhan details his encounters with the Gupta family

21 November 2018 - 08:28 By Ntokozo Miya
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told the state capture inquiry that he had 'forgotten' about an encounter with a Gupta brother.
Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told the state capture inquiry that he had 'forgotten' about an encounter with a Gupta brother.
Image: Alon Skuy

The Democratic Alliance's 2016 question about whether public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan had ever met with the controversial Gupta family was answered in detail on the second day of his testimony before the state capture commission.

When the former finance minister was asked by the DA in parliament whether he had had any meetings with the Gupta family, Gordhan denied this. Back then, he said that he had seen them at events where they were also guests.

Two weeks before Gordhan was due to appear before the commission, the statement he had prepared was leaked to the media. 

There were claims by the EFF that, in his response to the DA, Gordhan had not fully disclosed "meetings and engagements" with the family. 

When Gordhan testified on Tuesday, his response was more detailed.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that, whatever the interactions might have been, there was no so-called meeting where two people sit, they transact. There were interactions or we happened to be in the same place," said Gordhan. 

"I have never been to Saxonwold, to the so-called compound, nor, by the way, as I indicated earlier, did I look for the shebeen in its vicinity."

Gordhan went on to deny attending the infamous Sun City wedding. However, he did concede that he had seen the Guptas at "cricket matches on one or two occasions" as well as at breakfasts hosted by The New Age newspaper, which he was obliged to attend as finance minister at the time.

He told the commission about another occasion that some people might perceive to be a meeting with the Guptas.

"I have had meetings with Mr Ambani, as a businessperson and billionaire from India who runs a communications company called Reliance Communications."

Gordhan said he was later informed by his former chief of staff, Dondo Mokojane, that a Gupta family member was present at one of these meetings.

"I had forgotten of another instance where one of the Gupta brothers may have been present at a meeting I had with billionaire Indian businessman Anil Ambani of the Reliance Group of companies in or about June 2010."

He continued: "I stress that I do not recall the details set out below since it proved to be a meeting of little significance at the time."

Evidence leader, Advocate Paul Pretorius, then asked whether Gordhan actually had no recollection of the encounter, or whether it was possible that he may have misled parliament. 

"I would not lie to parliament," Gordhan insisted.

Gordhan is expected to finalise his testimony on Wednesday.

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