Johannesburg - The battle of the Gigabas took centre stage at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture as former minister Malusi Gigaba and his estranged wife, Norma Mngoma, went head to head about their relationship with the Guptas, their finances and lifestyles.
Mngoma claimed Gigaba used money, allegedly given to him by the Guptas, to fund his lavish lifestyle, support his father and bail his sister out of crippling debt that saw her blacklisted by the credit bureau.
But, Gigaba – who submitted a replying affidavit and appeared shortly after Mngoma – claimed all the allegations were fabricated and were an extension of Mngoma’s “creative imagination”.
He denied most of Mngoma’s testimony and told the commission that his estranged wife was part of a scheme to destroy his political career. Gigaba also alleged that Mngoma was rewarded with a car for her involvement in dragging his name through the mud.
Mngoma denied this and told the commission: "I pay for everything myself. He was the only one in the house who didn't pay for anything because the state pays for everything. I take care of myself. He would only help me when we went on holiday."
She said their household expenses weren't high as most of them had been paid for by the state, including their helper’s salary which came from the Department of Public Works.
Gigaba also accused Mngoma of trying to strong-arm him into a hefty divorce settlement as a bribe for her to withdraw from giving evidence at the commission.
Among her allegations, Mngoma said Gigaba used money from the Guptas to buy expensive suits in cash. She said he had over 100 suits at home and in storage, but Gigaba said these suits were often bought on a payment plan or on a discount. He said some suits were sponsored by designers due to his high profile.
Mngoma told the commission that the renovations at Gigaba’s house were funded by Ajay Gupta and he had helped bail out Gigaba’s sister, who was allegedly in debt to the tune of R850 000.
She also claimed her passports, both diplomatic and personal, went missing from her home and she believed Gigaba was behind it.
Mngoma said Gigaba had hidden evidence related to the Guptas and her passports, fearing it would prove the sequence of their overseas travel allegedly paid for by the Guptas and including a Mauritius trip allegedly facilitated by Dudu Myeni. She also told the commission that all the pictures and information related to the Guptas were deleted from her electronic devices when they were confiscated by the Hawks last year.
She said shortly before that, Gigaba brought an IT specialist to their home to wipe out all information from their devices, but she refused. She said Gigaba told her it was a member of the ANC’S top six who leaked a pornographic video of him as part of a scheme to politically destroy him.
Gigaba denied having any dealings with the Guptas.
He admitted to visiting their Saxonwold compound, but discounted Mngoma’s testimony that he had visited more than 20 times. Dealing with the goings-on at Transnet during his tenure as public enterprises minister, Gigaba said he had only learnt through the commission that the Guptas were paid R3.5 billion in kickbacks.
He told the commission that he was not aware of Gupta associate Salim Essa’s involvement in the tender processes. He said he met Essa on occasion, but denied having private meetings with him.
He told the commission he understood the Prasa board to have handled the procurement. He said if the irregularities were brought to his attention, then he would have taken action.