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'I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence'

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has apologised for meeting with the Gupta family.

A video screengrab shows Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene giving testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry on 3 October 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has apologised for meeting with the Gupta family.

During his testimony this week at the state capture inquiry, Nene made reference to the visits he made to the premises of the Gupta businesses in Midrand as well as the family's Saxonwold estate.

In a statement released a short while ago, Nene conceded that he was wrong for meeting the family at those locations and not at his office or a public place.

Nene said he's human and he made mistakes, but that it was reasonable for the public to expect office bearers to own up fully and timeously to these mistakes.

Earlier this week, he told the state capture inquiry he had met the Guptas on several occasions.

The admission runs contrary to what he told eNCA in 2016.

“I bumped into them during public gatherings, but I’ve never had an engagement and I’ve never been asked by them to do anything for them.”

In a statement released on Friday, Nene admitted he was wrong to meet the Guptas at their place of business and their Saxonwold residence. He emphasised that it’s common practice not only in South Africa but globally to attend gatherings, including dinners, at the residences of business people.

However, Nene conceded that context matters and as soon as he became aware of the controversy around the Guptas’ business dealings, he should have met them rather at his office, accompanied - as is customary - by a ministry of finance or national Treasury official.

Nene said these visits cast a shadow on his conduct and he asked South Africans for forgiveness.

WATCH: #StateCaptureInquiry: Nene's testimony in 3 minutes

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)