President Cyril Ramaphosa appears before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa appears before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

A glimpse into bombshells revealed at Zondo Commission this past week

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published May 1, 2021

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It was all eyes on the Zondo Commission this week as, for the first time in the history of South Africa, a sitting President testified at a Commission of Inquiry.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's appearance at the Zondo commission dominated the news this week.

In his two-day appearance before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the President fielded questions around ANC's policies, role and oversight during the state capture years.

In a statement to Zondo, the party leader said state capture undermined the integrity and capability of public institutions and deeply damaged the effectiveness of the ANC.

Ramaphosa testified on Wednesday and Thursday as President of the ANC.

He was expected to return to the Commission as President of the country at the end of May.

Ramaphosa faced questions around Parliament's oversight during the state capture years, party funding and its relation to state capture in particular his CR17 campaign.

The president conceded that Parliament and the ANC "dropped the ball" in not dealing swiftly with allegations of state capture that were contained in the Gupta leaks and various media reports.

He also conceded that the ANC cadre deployment strategy had been the victim of opportunism and factionalism and admitted that the ANC acted too late on state capture.

Ramaphosa defended Parliament, saying the allegations were not backed by evidence at the time.

It was only through the media's constant coverage of the Gupta leaked emails did Parliament start to act, however this was five years after the first allegation of state capture he said.

The president repeatedly testified that the issue of state capture was hotly contested in the ANC as some members were suspicious of the claims, hence the delayed response.

Ramaphosa also faced questions regarding a R500 000 donation his campaign had received from facilities management company Bosasa.

He said he did not know what all the campaign money, estimated at around R300 million, was used for.

Ramaphosa emphasised that his campaign had not bought votes, as many of Ramaphosa detractors have claimed. He insisted that the allegations that his win in 2017 at the ANC’s elective conference was bought was “completely devoid of any truth”.

"There was nothing sinister about the CR17 campaign, there was nothing underhand. I would never allow that."

Norma Gigaba

The estranged wife of former finance minister Malusi Gigaba, Norma Mngoma told the Commission that her husband was a servant of the Guptas and their lavish lifestyle was mostly funded by the infamous family.

During her testimony, Mngoma claimed that through the Guptas and her husband, even she was made aware of major appointments at state owned enterprises months before it happened.

She further claimed that Ajay Gupta gifted Gigaba a white three series BMW, a gold necklace for their first born son, bags of cash and even cash for their wedding. She said they often visited the Guptas Saxonwold compound and would often leave with bags of cash. Mngoma also told the Commission that her husband shared a friendly relationship with former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama to the extent that he was able to secure a job at the parastatal for his sister - to which Gama denied when he returned to the Commission on Friday.

Mngoma said she and her husband were also invited to the infamous Gupta wedding at Sun City and the welcoming party at the Waterkloof Air Force Base for the family.

Siyabonga Gama

Former Transnet Group CEO Siyabonga Gama denied allegations against him that he was an "architect of state capture".

He also refuted claims that then Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba influenced his appointment. He also accused Witness 2 of "adding masala" to his evidence in an attempt to paint him in a bad light.

Gama vehemently denied the allegations made by Witness 2 - the former driver and bodyguard who testified without revealing his identity for fear of his life, which he claimed had been threatened.

Witness 2 alleged that Gama was given bags of money by Gupta associate Salim Essa on a number of occasions.

Gama rubbished the claims as "a figment of his imagination", saying that he prays for Witness 2 daily.

Brian Molefe

The former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe said he found nothing wrong about paying R100 million to sponsor The New Age business breakfasts as it was "value for money".

Transnet sponsored 10 of these breakfasts on an ad hoc basis, for just under R1,2million per breakfast.

He also criticised the commission for choosing “a particular narrative and a family” while ignoring others.

Mosebenzi Zwane

Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane's evidence focused on his visit to the Swiss Alps and his relationship with the Guptas.

Zwane repeated his previous claims that the trip, to meet with Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, was initiated by his department and it was only meant to solve the issue of possible job losses at Optimum Coal Mine.

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