State capture report: Guptas played key role in Cabinet appointments
Cell phone records show how several people are linked to the Guptas, including Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.
JOHANNESBURG – Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s explosive State of capture report has revealed how the Gupta family played a key role in Cabinet appointments, made under-handed deals to pursue business interests and how the president failed to take action.
In an unexpected turn of events yesterday, President Jacob Zuma’s legal team withdrew his application to interdict the release of the report, the High Court in Pretoria then ordered the Public Protector to publish the document before the end of the business day.
Cell phone records show how several people are linked to the Guptas, including Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, and how Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen was at the Gupta compound the night before his brief appointment as Finance Minister last year.
WATCH: Brian Molefe on Guptas
Madonsela has called on Zuma to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry within 30 days to investigate all the issues she’s identified, using her record of the investigation and the report as a starting point.
The former Public Protector relied on cell phone records to corroborate evidence and it places several people at the Gupta residence in Saxonwold where secret meetings took place.
This is also where deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas claims he was offered the job of Finance Minister by Ajay Gupta when he made this claim in a public statement earlier this year.
JONAS RECOUNTS GUPTA OFFER
The deputy finance minister retold his encounter with one of the Gupta brothers while at their home.
Jonas told Madonsela that Zuma’s son, Duduzane and businessman, Fana Hlongwane, initiated his meeting with Ajay Gupta where he was offered the job of minister of finance.
He says Gupta told him that the family has made “a lot of money from the state, saying that they had made R6 billion so far and want to increase it to R8 billion”.
Jonas say he was told that most of the funds were held in Dubai. He says Gupta indicated that National Treasury were a stumbling block to the family’s business ambitions and thus offered him the position.
He added that he was told he would then be expected to remove the current Director-General and key members of the National Treasury executive management.
WATCH: Jonas: The Guptas offered me SA finance minister job
HOW OFFICIALS DEALT WITH GUPTAS
Now looking at this from a numerical point of view: R600 million. That’s the amount of money the Gupta family allegedly offered Jonas and they even told him he could have it immediately, provided he had a bag large enough to carry the cash.
On 8 December 2015: that’s the day Zuma fired Nhanhla Nene as Finance minister and told him he would be deployed to the Brics bank. That deployment has still not materialized, almost 11 months later.
It’s a noteworthy date, as phone records also place Van Rooynen at the Gupta’s Saxonwold home on the 8th.
He spent much of that first week visiting the family.
Forty-four: that’s the number of times Molefe called Ajay Gupta between August 2015 and March 2016. It works out to an average of a phone call every five days over a 233-day stretch.
Those same records place Molefe in Saxonwold 19 times between August and November last year, which works out to one visit every five days over a period of 93 days.
Two-hundred and sixteen: that’s the number of pages in the report that deals with the skulduggery around Eskom and the coal firms - that’s about 60% of the entire report.
And last but not least: on 6 October 2016, that’s the day Madonsela met with Zuma to get his version of events.
Zuma did not answer any questions.
MADONSELA MOVE TO DEAL WITH REPORT
Madonsela says she chose to recommend a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture because of the unconcluded processes in her investigation.
She says she reported the best way she knew how and she knows some may ask questions about the unusual nature of the report.
Madonsela says the state capture report is not like others that were released during her tenure.
“I don’t know how the public will receive it. I didn’t know that it’s not like our normal reports, hence it will raise a lot of questions around why it’s not like other reports.”
She says because of legal action and many people making themselves unavailable for interviews, she had to build in a mechanism to conclude the process.
“Provide some answers. It raises some questions, it then provide mechanism to conclude the process.”
Madonsela says she has faith that civil society will ensure that the process is concluded.
Read the Public Protector's full 'State of Capture' report below:
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)