Although he met the Gupta family at ANC events, President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has never engaged with the family beyond greetings and pleasantries. File picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has distanced himself from the Guptas and Bosasa boss Gavin Watson as allegations of state capture unfold at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

In a detailed affidavit given to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, Ramaphosa admitted meeting the Guptas several times.

He remembered one meeting where one of the brothers was present to discuss the banks.

This was at the time the four major banks had closed the accounts of the Guptas.

“One of them arrived for the meeting and I think it was Tony Gupta. At this meeting held during April 2016, various issues were discussed including the closure of the bank accounts of one of their businesses, Oakbay,” stated Ramaphosa in the affidavit.

The Cabinet had weighed in on the matter, but it later retracted a statement issued by then-minister of mineral resources Mosebenzi Zwane.

The matter of the banks has been discussed at the commission after former Cabinet ministers and senior executives of the banks testified at the commission.

Ramaphosa also said he has no recollection of meeting either Watson or former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi.

He said in his former company, Molope Group, he may have interacted with Bosasa officials at the time as his company was in direct competition with Bosasa. But he said he did not recall meeting Agrizzi, who had been working for Molope’s subsidiary at the time.

Agrizzi blew the whistle on Bosasa and alleged the facilities management company had bribed senior ANC and government officials including ministers over a period.

Ramaphosa said he was also told that Watson and another Bosasa official had attended the wedding of his son, Andile, in Uganda.

The president said when he met with of the Gupta brothers in 2016 to discuss the matter of the banks, he raised the issue of Waterkloof airbase in Pretoria three years before.

The landing of the Gupta jet at the airbase led to a public outcry and call for action on those responsible.

During the testimony of South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands Bruce Koloane to the commission recently, he admitted to name dropping.

Koloane was moved from his position of chief state protocol to ambassador a few years ago after the Waterkloof airbase fiasco.

Zondo has also heard evidence of how officials in the military were pressured to allow the Guptas to land at the airbase.

Ramaphosa had urged Zondo to release his affidavit in public in order to stop any speculation of what his evidence was.

The deputy chief justice also wants other former ministers and senior figures in the ANC to come clean on what they know happened during state capture.

The Guptas have been fingered in wrongdoing over a prolonged period of time. The family left the country early last year.

Political Bureau