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'I was never formally introduced to the Guptas'

Malusi Gigaba says he didn’t find it odd to be invited to events hosted by the Gupta family even though he was never formally introduced to them.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says he was never formally introduced to any member of the Guptas family, despite having attended their functions and events.

Gigaba has told Parliament's inquiry into state capture at Eskom that he did not find it peculiar that he was invited to the Guptas’ Diwali celebrations and the much-talked-about Sun City wedding.

He insists no business was ever discussed at these occasions and only pleasantries were exchanged.

The minister says he didn’t find it odd to be invited to events hosted by the Gupta family even though he was never formally introduced to them.

“There’s nobody I can attribute that responsibility of having introduced me [to the Guptas].”

Questioned by the DA’s Natasha Mazzone on his relationship with the family, Gigaba said several other ministers and political figures also attended.

“Many people in business would go to the extent of inviting and even paying celebrities to appear at their functions, it seems to be a common thing.”

Gigaba says for various reasons, he and other politicians eventually stopped attending the Gupta events.

WATCH: Gigaba appears before state capture inquiry

'DON'T ACT CLEVERER'

The Home Affairs minister has denied ever visiting Dubai at the invitation of the Gupta family and says he doesn't hold a bank account in the Emirate.

He could, however, not recall exactly how many times he visited their Saxonwold residence, saying these were not business meetings and thus not in his official diary.

Gigaba says he believes he's part of a vilification campaign to link him to the Guptas and state capture.

The minister had maintained his composure for most of the day.

Then he had to field questions from the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu.

One of those, an allegation that he is one of several politicians being used by an alleged Gupta syndicate.

Shivambu said: “You know, Mr Gigaba when you’re asked questions, don’t act cleverer; you must listen.”

“But leadership, you act cleverer when you ask questions. The facts must not irritate you,” Gigaba responded.

Gigaba says all the allegations put to him by Shivambu are part of a vilification campaign, which Shivambu is actively involved in.

But Shivambu hit back.

“The majority of the things he has said here don’t make sense and are not believable. We will process them at the end of the inquiry. Thank you very much.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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