Rajesh Gupta offered me R2m on the spot to sign letter, says former Free State MEC

05 April 2019 - 15:01
By Amil Umraw
Former MEC of economic development in the Free State, Mxolisi Dukwana, at the state capture commission on Friday, April 5 2019.
Image: Masi Losi Former MEC of economic development in the Free State, Mxolisi Dukwana, at the state capture commission on Friday, April 5 2019.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana claims that Rajesh Gupta offered him R2m a month as a kickback for helping the family secure a multibillion-rand construction job in the province.

At the centre of Dukwana's testimony before the state capture inquiry on Friday is ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who - while he was Free State premier - allegedly took Dukwana under false pretences to meet Gupta on a number of occasions.

It was during a meeting at the family's Saxonwold home in 2012 that the alleged bribe was offered.

But this was not the first time he was taken to see Gupta.

Dukwana told the commission that in February 2008 , while he was MEC for safety, Magashule approached him while he was at a hotel in Sandton for a meeting.

"I had finished my meeting. I was just relaxing and [Magashule] came. I was not surprised he was there because it has been the hotel he frequented. He then asked me to accompany him to Midrand - and because I was not doing anything I felt it would be good to go with him," Dukwana said.

"He said it's something I want to go there and do quickly ... We drove together in the car he was using. We arrived at the Sahara offices [a company owned by the Gupta family]. At the time I did not know what these offices were about."

The pair was allegedly greeted by Rajesh Gupta on arrival and given a tour of the offices.

After the tour, Dukwana claimed that Rajesh asked Magashule: "Did you bring that?"

Magashule then produced an ID for Rajesh to copy.

This, as Dukwana understands, was to facilitate the hiring of Magashule's son, Tshepiso, by one of the Gupta companies.

"He [Magashule] deliberately said to me there is no law in the country that prohibits his son from doing business with anyone," Dukwana said.

A second meeting took place when Dukwana was MEC for economic development and Magashule was premier of the province.

"We were going for the provincial elective conference, I was the [provincial] treasurer of the ANC, and my responsibility was to raise funding for such. Here an opportunity arises when [Magashule] called me and indicated that he had arranged a fundraising dinner for me with some businesses who were mostly from the Free State but based here [in Johannesburg] and that we needed to do that. It was not the first time that has happened," Dukwana said.

He recalled that the pair took an SA Express flight to Johannesburg where they were picked up by "white men" who Dukwana thought belonged to the police VIP protection unit. They were driven to the Gupta family's Saxonwold compound in separate vehicles.

At the house, Dukwana said they were again greeted by Rajesh who ushered them inside.

"We get into the house and I'm directed into a room and I then found a pile of newspapers and I'm given one to read but I just did not feel like reading. I asked for a Grapetiser red and I was given that and they [Magashule and Rajesh] disappeared. I don't know where they went," he said.

"I stayed there for some time. I don't think it was more than 15 minutes or so and then they came out. This time, there were other people."

Dukwana said he immediately recognised former president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane and Gupta business ally Iqbal Sharma among those who entered the room with Rajesh and Magashule.

Rajesh allegedly handed Dukwana a letter, its contents already typed out, with a letterhead from Dukwana's office. The letter was addressed to a Gupta-linked company, awarding the entity a multibillion-rand construction deal for the so-called "City of Tomorrow" in the Lejweleputswa district municipality. All it needed was Dukwana's signature.

He said he immediately noted that his surname, where he was to sign the letter, was spelt "Dukoana". The spelling of his surname in this way is only reflected in his ID but is in fact spelt incorrectly - a botch-up at the department of home affairs. The spelling "Dukwana" is used in all his correspondence aside from official contracts.

"Not many people knew …. I concluded that it was [Magashule]," he said.

"I then said but I can't sign this because I'm an MEC and the executive authority, this should be signed by the HOD."

Rajesh allegedly offered Dukwana a R2m immediate payment for signing the deal and an additional R2m a month for the duration of the contract which could have lasted for a decade.

His testimony is continuing.