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Mbalula clarifies Guptas involvement in his sports minister appointment

Fikile Mbalula claims he was congratulated for being appointed sports minister by Gupta before he was informed of the appointment by then-President Jacob Zuma.

A screengrab of ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula at the Zondo Commission on 22 March 2019.

African National Congress (ANC) election head Fikile Mbalula’s interview with the Public Protector in which he denied having a conversation with Ajay Gupta has been one of the many focal points of his testimony at the Zondo Commission on Friday.

The former sports minister has moved to explain how he was in a different state of mind when he made the assertions to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela back in 2016.

The commission took Mbalula to task over inconsistencies in his evidence to the statement he submitted to the Public Protector.

“When I appeared before the Public Protector and what may arise as inconsistencies, is how I relate and answer the question of appointment and being offered a position. I raised the issue in the NEC meeting and the context to which was that there was a call.”

Mbalula claimed he was congratulated for being appointed sports minister by Gupta before he was informed of the appointment by then-President Jacob Zuma.

The commission heard a recording from the transcript of Mbalula’s interview with Madonsela in which she tried to engage him on having been informed of his appointment by the Guptas.

“I deny that vehemently,” he said.

“So you deny that?” Madonsela asks.

“Emphatically,” Mbalula said.

WATCH: Mbalula: ANC NEC was quiet when I brought up Ajay Gupta