Gigaba says Norma Mngoma is using Zondo commission testimony to 'gain leverage' in divorce

Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba rejects estranged wife's allegations about gifts, cash and obligations to the Guptas as untrue

08 April 2021 - 12:12 By Franny Rabkin
Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba has taken aim at his ex, Norma Mngoma, over her testimony at the state capture commission. File photo.
Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba has taken aim at his ex, Norma Mngoma, over her testimony at the state capture commission. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba has applied to the Zondo commission to suppress as inadmissible the evidence of his estranged wife Nomachule “Norma” Mngoma or alternatively hear her evidence behind closed doors.

In his application, Gigaba says the evidence is either fabricated or speculative and will, if heard in public, impact on the dignity of his minor children.

He also denies the allegations made by Mngoma. Mngoma is yet to give evidence before the commission.

However, attached to Gigaba’s application — expected to be heard on Friday — is the commission’s rule 3(3) notice to him, setting out an extensive list of explosive allegations by Mngoma that he may wish or be required to answer to.

These allegations, some of which Mngoma has previously raised in media interviews, include his relationship with the Guptas, his visits to their Saxonwold compound and gifts he allegedly received from them. The allegations include:

  • that from about 2009 when he was appointed deputy minister of home affairs, he had consulted “advisers” — who later emerged to be the Guptas — to discuss work matters;
  • that he frequently met with the Guptas during his times as ministers of public enterprises, home affairs and finance; and
  • that he had been told by Ajay Gupta about his move from home affairs to public enterprises, before the official appointment.

The notice said Mngoma alleged that he attended the Gupta residence in Johannesburg, Saxonwold, frequently during the years of 2009 to 2018, and at which meetings confidential and sensitive matters relating to affairs of state were discussed.

In his application, Gigaba responds in detail to her affidavit — rejecting most of her claims as false — and saying what is really motivating her is gaining an advantage in their divorce proceedings.

“In the process of our settlement negotiations, Nomachule has on occasion used the threat of publicly embarrassing me in forums such as the commission in an effort to gain leverage in the divorce settlement. Accordingly, I believe that her approach to the commission is in an improper effort to advance her agenda in our divorce proceedings,” said Gigaba.

To claim, as Mngoma had done, that he called the Guptas his advisers was “absurd”, he said, adding that he was told by then president Zuma about his appointment as public enterprises minister and even “quite taken aback” at the news.  

“I deny frequent visits with the Guptas or indeed discussing such visits with Nomachule.” ​

The affidavit appears to refer to other claims made by Mngoma that were not detailed in the commission’s notice. Though her full affidavit was attached to the notice when it was sent to Gigaba, it was not attached to his application.  

Gigaba said the context of his relationship with Mngoma “indicates a high likelihood that the evidence is unreliable, fabricated, highly subjective, emotive and vindictively motivated”. 

He has asked the commission to rule that Mngoma’s affidavit is inadmissible. Alternatively, that if she is allowed to give evidence, it be done in camera — or behind closed doors — including his cross-examination of her; and also that the contents of her affidavit will not be disclosed to the public, unless and only to the extent that they are referred to in the commission’s final report.