I was unhappy with the name dropping: Gigaba explains strain between him, Guptas
Speaking at the state capture inquiry Gigaba said he was aware that the Guptas has used his name, and that of other ministers, to wield influence. He said this led to 'the pulling of relations'.
JOHANNESBURG – Former Minister Malusi Gigaba said he had to cool relations between him and the Guptas because he didn’t like them dropping his name.
Gigaba said this on Thursday while responding to the testimony of former Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee at the state capture commission.
Saloojee said Gigaba was present when he met the Guptas for the first time, and Gigaba told him to help “his friends”.
But the former minister denies that the meeting ever happened.
Saloojee said Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa called him, invited him to a meeting, and then picked him up from a coffee shop.
He said on arrival at the Gupta residence, he was taken into a room, where Atul Gupta and Gigaba were meeting.
Saloojee said the former minister told him: “These are my friends, if at some point you can assist them with anything, that would be good.”
WATCH: Gigaba: Norma Mngoma is an accomplished liar
But Gigaba denies this: “I think Mr Saloojee was mistaken in locating me at the meeting. Perhaps they did say to him that ‘we are close to Mr Gigaba,’ but the meeting did not happen.”
But he was aware that the Guptas used ministers’ names, including his, to wield influence.
“I became quite unhappy with my name being dropped at various places, which led to the pulling of relations at some point.”
Gigaba’s estranged wife Norma Mngoma told the commission that he said they were his advisors but in the end, he stopped taking their calls.
WATCH: 'Ajay Gupta briefed Malusi in front of me' - Norma Mngoma
Gigaba said Mngoma came up with the idea to refuse to testify at the state capture commission.
He said Mngoma's conditions were that he should give her the money she wants from their divorce and drop the malicious damage to property charges against her.
Gigaba said his estranged wife lied about him under oath and the commission allowed a bitter person to advance a fight against him.
The former minister said he didn’t want to be malicious, but he wanted to respond and clear his name.
Gigaba said Mngoma’s evidence was all hearsay and she was using the commission to get what she wanted from a divorce settlement.
“She said ‘we married in terms of anti-nuptial with no accrual, I cannot just walk away with nothing and I would like you to offer something financially. Secondly, I would like you withdraw the case. Thirdly, I would in return – through my attorneys - stave off the attempt by the commission on state capture.’”
Gigaba denies that he told Mngoma the Guptas were his advisors and he repeatedly told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond she just wanted to appear important.