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Chikane: Gupta family's rise in SA no accident of history

Chikane, who served under former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, testified at the state capture commission of inquiry in Parktown on Tuesday.

A screengrab of Reverend Frank Chikane appearing at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on 19 November 2019.

PRETORIA - Former director-general in the Presidency Reverend Frank Chikane said that the way the Guptas infiltrated the corridors of power and influenced politicians suggested it was a coordinated, intelligence-driven project to capture the state.

Chikane, who served under former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, testified at the state capture commission of inquiry i n Parktown on Tuesday.

He told the commission that he had advised former government spokesperson Themba Maseko in 2010 to reject former President Jacob Zuma's instruction that he help the Guptas secure deals with government.

That move apparently cost Maseko his job.

Zuma denied issuing such instructions or that he played any role in Maseko being fired.

Chikane said he was convinced the Gupta family's rise was not an accident of history.

“There was a more intelligent operation to reach out to leaders who were strategically placed or had the potential to occupy strategic positions in the future or their relatives, including their children, and create relationships and corrupt them in preparation for a larger project.”

While critics have placed the advancement of the state capture project at the African National Congress (ANC)'s door, Chikane suggested there was an element of powerlessness within the governing party.

“I think, although we saw the signals, the state and party were not able to arrest the process because we could have arrested the process and it wasn’t and it cost the country dearly.”