Former cabinet minister Malusi Gigaba giving evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
Former cabinet minister Malusi Gigaba giving evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Gigaba grilled over adviser’s Gupta-paid India trip

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published May 27, 2021

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Former Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba says he reprimanded his then adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu for visiting India on a Gupta-paid trip, but admitted he was slow on stopping the trip altogether.

Gigaba returned to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture to continue his evidence on Transnet-related contracts and issues while he was the minister of Public Enterprises.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo questioned how Mahlangu was allowed to visit India for a week on a trip at the expense of Tony Gupta in early 2011.

“Do you not find it strange that someone who just started a new job didn't get approval from the minister who he works closely with to go on such a trip?” Zondo queried.

Gigaba agreed that it was strange and, looking back, he should have replied to Mahlangu’s email to put a stop to his trip. Mahlangu sent an email from his private account to Gigaba, notifying him that this private trip had “great political value” and asked for leave.

In the same email, he advised Gigaba to tell then president Jacob Zuma and “key aides” about Siyabonga Gama’s likely return to Transnet. Gigaba said he had not replied to the email.

Although the former minister said he reprimanded Mahlangu, he told the commission that he never asked Mahlangu about the trip. He also denied meeting ex-Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee at the Gupta Saxonwold compound.

Saloojee alleged that when he was first appointed, he was taken to the Gupta compound and introduced to Tony Gupta.

While there, he claimed he was introduced to Gigaba, who was already at their home.

He said Gigaba told him that the Guptas were his friends and he should assist them in whatever they may need whenever the need arose.

Gigaba denied the meeting ever happened saying there was no need for anybody to introduce his CEO to him.

“I did mention that there was a lot of name dropping in the business environment,” Gigaba said.

The inquiry continues.

IOL

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