Deputy president David Mabuza said he was too ill when he travelled to Moscow in 2015 to remember whether a man known for negotiating mining deals was on the plane with him. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Parliament - Deputy president David Mabuza on Thursday said he was too ill and on very strong painkillers when he travelled to Moscow in October 2015 to remember whether a man known for negotiating mining deals between Russia and foreign governments was on the plane with him.

Appearing in the National Council of Provinces for a question-and-answer session, Mabuza was asked to respond to allegations contained in an open letter from opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, published this week.

Among these were that Ruslan Gorring, first deputy director of Russian exploration company ROSGEO and a man known to negotiate mining deals between Russian and foreign governments, accompanied him to Moscow aboard a Gupta-owned jet.

"I was taken to Moscow in a very terrible condition," said Mabuza, who insists he was offered transport to a Russian state hospital by Duduzane Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma's son and a business partner of the Gupta family, to receive treatment after he was poisoned.

"I can't even tell you who was in that flight that was taking me to hospital. The only thing I've noticed that I was in a flight but throughout the flight, I was on very high pain medication."

He again denied having any connection to the Guptas, who have been accused of systemic looting of the state coffers, except for the fact that they gave him a lift to the Russian hospital.

"I've said before and I'm saying it now that there is nothing between me and the Guptas and the Russians to date...except that I went to a Russian hospital in Moscow and I was assisted."

African News Agency (ANA)