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Jonas: Gupta encounter an eye-opener to high level of graft

The deputy Finance Minister said his apparent encounter with the Gupta family and alleged state capture attempts were a symptom of a bigger phenomenon.

FILE: Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: Screengrab

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said his encounter with Ajay Gupta in Saxonworld and an offer of R600 million in bribe money was an eye-opener to the high level of corruption in the country.

In an affidavit submitted to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela during the state capture investigation, Jonas claimed he'd been offered money by the Gupta family in exchange for his support with the nuclear build programme.

Jonas was speaking at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) think tank in Sandton on Monday night.

When asked how he felt about allegedly being offered money by the Gupta family, Jonas jokingly said every time the question was posed to him he was reminded about his father asking him what he did.

However, Jonas said his apparent encounter with the Gupta family and alleged state capture attempts were a symptom of a bigger phenomenon.

“I think it’s a phenomenon that all of us need to be alert to and a bigger issue we need to address as a country.”

The deputy minister said that taking the alleged offer would have narrowed his effectiveness as a public servant. He added that he spoke out in an effort to discourage what he called “rent seeking”.

“If rent seeking is the only means to wealth creation, you have a problem as a country.”

Jonas said the country needs a robust campaign to deal with the scale of corruption in leadership before dealing with reversing the impact it has had on people in general.

WATCH: Jonas: The Guptas offered me finance minister job

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)