Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. FILE PHOTO: Siphephile Sibanyoni/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's long-awaited testimony is set to be heard at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday,

Gordhan's evidence was initially set for last week Thursday but was moved to a new date after he applied for a postponement. 

His sworn statement to the commission dated 11 November 2018 was leaked to media, prompting commission chairman, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to issue a statement of condemnation.
 
In the evidence, Gordhan detailed his encounter with the controversial Gupta family in his first term as finance minister between 2004 and 2009. He said he requested by Zuma to a meeting at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria. 

The former president introduced him to Ajay Gupta, whom he referred to as ''a friend''. Zuma told Gordhan that Gupta had expertise in small business and finance.

WATCH THE LIVE FEED:

''I recall us exchanging generalities for a couple of minutes, but I do not recall the details of what was a very cursory exchange. Mr Gupta then excused himself and left me and the former president to continue with the meeting.''

More encounters happened during official functions such as The New Age breakfast sessions and I was introduced to Ajay. He also came across one of the Gupta brothers at a cricket match but he did not recall which of the three brothers it was. 

Gordhan said they exchanged greetings but did not speak. 

He added that he has never been summoned to the Gupta's Saxonwold compound and that he turned down the family wedding invitation to Sun City back in 2013.

Gordhan was dismissed by Zuma in a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle in 2017 allegedly for refusing to do the bidding for the Gupta family.

Since his appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gordhan has been on a stated mission to rid state-owned enterprises of corrupt influence and recover money lost in irregular deals with the business empire of the Guptas, who are at the centre of the state capture scandal.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)  continue gunning for Gordhan and will protest at the commission's Parktown venue on Monday. Party leader Julius Malema said the minister enabled state capture during Zuma's administration.

''We asked him a set of questions - how did he become minister of finance? And whether he was aware of a meeting wherein certain people asked Zuma to make him finance minister. We asked him those questions because the Guptas were able to do what they did because of Zuma was assisted by Pravin ... he is an enabler of state capture and must answer honourably and honestly,'' Malema told news channel eNCA.

The red berets accused Gordhan of lying to Parliament about meeting Guptas back in 2016 and reported the minister to the public protector.

On Monday the EFF will ask the Ethics Committee in Parliament to take action against Gordhan who they accuse of lying under oath.

* For more stories on the state capture inquiry click here.

** Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.

African News Agency (ANA)