Ramaphosa: I had no significant or meaningful engagements with Guptas

This was among Cyril Ramaphosa submissions in an affidavit he filed with the commission after being requested to do so by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the state capture commission of inquiry that he had not had any significant or meaningful engagements with the Guptas nor directors or officials from Bosasa.

This was among the president’s submissions in an affidavit he filed with the commission earlier in July after being requested to do so by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The controversial Gupta family and the Bosasa - currently known as African Global Operations - have been at the centre of the corruption allegations emerging at the commission.

Ramaphosa said he had met two of the Gupta brothers on three or four occasions. The first time being at the 2012 Mangaung conference and again after the 2014 national elections.

“The first time I met them was at a media briefing held by the ANC officials that took place after the 53rd conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein. This took place on or about 21 December 2012, when the newly elected officials of the ANC were presenting the resolutions taken at the conference at a breakfast media briefing broadcast by the SABC. I am not able to say which of the brothers I met at the time as I did not get to know their individual names,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the interactions were at events where nothing of any consequence was discussed and he never engaged with them beyond greetings and pleasantries.

However, the president said in April 2016 the African National Congress (ANC) leadership met with the brothers where they raised concerns related to the closure of their bank accounts and where Tony Gupta made a presentation on their business model.

“The only occasion on which matters of substance were discussed was when the Gupta brothers requested a meeting with ANC officials (I gathered from the evidence of our [then] secretary general Gwede Mantashe that this was by letter of [former Oakbay CEO] Nazeem Howa) to discuss their situation in relation to the closure of their bank accounts, and at which was also raised the controversy around them and their relationship with the then President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

“One of them arrived for the meeting and I think it was Tony Gupta. At this meeting, held during April 2016, various issues were discussed, including the closure of the bank accounts of one of their businesses - Oakbay. Tony Gupta made a presentation on their business model and detailed their various businesses, including those in the mining and media sectors,” he said,

“One of the issues that I raised at that meeting was the landing of 747 Jumbo Jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013. I stated that they had, through their actions, placed the former president in an invidious position. Tony Gupta’s reaction was that permission for the plane to land had been obtained and given by the Indian High Commissioner,” Ramaphosa added.

In relation to Bosasa, Ramaphosa said he may have encountered come of the companies’ directors through business interaction over the years, but he had no recollection of such encounters.

The president committed to testifying at the commission when called to do so by the deputy chief justice.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)