'Duduzane is my only son involved with money. Help him wherever you can'
President Jacob Zuma introduced his son Duduzane to a senior civil servant at his official Pretoria residence Mahlamba Ndlopfu in 2009, shortly after being elected president, and asked him to help his son wherever he could.
The late-night meeting is said to have also been attended by Rajesh "Tony" Gupta.
The senior civil servant, Jacinto Rocha, was deputy director-general in the department of minerals and energy (now the Department of Mineral Resources) when the meeting took place. At the time, the Gupta brothers and Duduzane had their eyes on several mines.
Zuma is understood to have told Rocha: "Duduzane is my only child involved with money. I will appreciate if you help him wherever you could."Rocha later resigned from the department, in January 2010, and started a mining consultancy that included Duduzane and the Guptas as clients.
Six days before Zuma reshuffled his cabinet in June 2012, Tony Gupta is said to have summoned Rocha to his family residence in Saxonwold where he and Duduzane recruited him to be a legal adviser to the man they said would soon be South Africa's new transport minister, Ben Martins.
Details about the Saxonwold meetings are contained in leaked e-mails which show how the Gupta brothers allegedly tried to strong-arm Rocha and Martins to replace existing board members with their cronies.
Rocha was allegedly offered R100-million if he could implement all the changes and channel all the business deals the Gupta brothers wanted from the department.
Then - two days before Zuma appointed Martins as transport minister on June 12 2012 - Tony Gupta summoned Martins to the Saxonwold residence and introduced him to Rocha as one of his advisers.
Zuma's spokesman, Bongani Ngqulunga, yesterday could not explain how Tony Gupta knew beforehand who the new minister would be and why he was recruiting advisers for him.
"The Presidency has no knowledge of the said allegations relating to the changes in the national executive of government," he said.
Although Rocha refused to comment on the meeting with the president, he admitted to being recruited as Martins's adviser by Duduzane and Tony Gupta.
But Ngqulunga said ministers appointed their own advisers and Zuma had no role in this. "We wish to emphasise that the appointment of ministerial support staff including advisers is done by the ministers without the involvement of the president or Presidency."
Rocha also confirmed that the Guptas handed him a list of names of people they wanted him and Martins to appoint to boards that fell under the Department of Transport.
"Approximately six days, either June 6 or 7 2012, before the announcement of the reshuffle, Tony Gupta called me requesting to come to Saxonwold to meet with him," Rocha said.
"On the agreed day, I went to meet him and during our meeting he stated that there was going to be a cabinet reshuffle the following week and that he wanted to recommend me to the future minister of transport for me to be one of his special advisers."I then indicated to him [Tony] that I would think about it and revert back to him. On June 8 or 9 we met again where I agreed to his proposal on condition that I meet the future minister before I am appointed."
The Sunday Times has it on good authority that another adviser, Robert Nkuna, who was also appointed to work with Martins, was also summoned to visit the Guptas' residence before the reshuffle.
Nkuna this week refused to answer specific questions or give any comment about the visit he is said to have made to the Gupta home.
Martins on Friday confirmed that he had visited the Gupta compound, but could not recall specific dates.
"Yes I have been there. I can't recall how many times," Martins said.
The modus operandi said by well-placed sources to have been used by the Guptas in this instance is similar to the one they used in 2015 when Zuma fired finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with Des van Rooyen.
It was revealed in former public protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report that when Van Rooyen reported to work on December 12 2015 he arrived with two advisers, Ian Whitley and Mohammed Bobat, who were also allegedly recruited by the Gupta brothers.