How Guptas paid for minister's trip to India for medical treatment

State capture family flew minister for medical treatment in New Delhi hospitals

02 July 2017 - 00:01 By THANDUXOLO JIKA

The Guptas flew Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to India for medical treatment a few days after he helped them acquire a coal mine from Glencore in December 2015.
Although it is not yet clear if the family footed the minister's hospital bill, the Sunday Times can reveal that details of the diagnosis, his treatment and the medical prescriptions were sent to Tony Gupta by e-mail.
This latest revelation further puts into question Zwane's claim in parliament, in April last year, that he had "not met with any member, nor close associate of the Guptas" since his appointment as minister in September 2015. Misleading parliament is a criminal offence which could land the perpetrator in jail.
It also partly resolves the mystery highlighted by former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her State of Capture report about Zwane's whereabouts between December 2 and 5 of that year.Shared jet with Guptas, associates
During that period, Zwane flew to India with Tony and a number of Gupta business associates, including Salim Essa and Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha, who was later arrested for money laundering in Mumbai. The group travelled from Switzerland via Dubai in a private jet owned by the Guptas, despite Zwane having a ticket on an Emirates flight to Dubai booked by his department.
In an e-mail from one Srikant Singhala to Tony on December 5 2015, Zwane's medical details are attached and marked "doctor's file".
They show that he visited one of New Delhi's top hospitals - Max Super Speciality Hospital - on December 2. Two days later, Zwane visited another top hospital, the Medanta MediCity outside New Delhi.
Flouting official travel protocol
The Sunday Times cannot reveal the nature of his medical condition out of respect for doctor-patient confidentiality.
But what has raised eyebrows is how Zwane's medical records for both visits to the specialists were received by Tony through his Sahara e-mail address.
The minister and his office failed to respond to Sunday Times questions about his India trip this week.
It was previously reported that South African diplomats in Dubai were left wondering where the minister had gone when he landed there from Zurich in a Gupta jet and then flew out to India without informing them. The diplomats had been sent to meet him in line with government protocol.Five-star Dubai stay booked by family
In Zurich, where he is said to have helped the Guptas negotiate a deal with Glencore to take over its Optimum Mine, Zwane refused to meet South African ambassador Claudinah Ramosepele.Captured and then coached
How to deflect media● An e-mail on February 2 2016 contains further proof of the Gupta influence and hold over Zwane. In it, former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa e-mails Tony Gupta and Duduzane Zuma and asks for input on how Zwane should deflect media questions about his relationship with the Guptas.
Polishing the answers● With a subject line “Zwane questions”, Howa writes: “I need some help on some of the answers. I think we should also prepare for a question of his role around the Waterkloof landing. Perhaps I can sit with someone at his side to help me polish and add to the answers. Let’s chat . . .”
What about rumours?Howa drafted questions including:● “Your appointment seems to be really irregular? You were silently moved from MEC for agriculture to mining minister. What do you think the president saw in you to give him the confidence to appoint you?”● “What about the rumours of your being captured by the Guptas and [that] your appointment was made for you to do their bidding?”● “What is your relationship with the Guptas?”

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.