State capture inquiry: A break down of events so far
Politics / 9 November 2018, 8:55pm / Zintle Mahlati
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission continues its probe into state capture next week with two high profile testimonies.
So far, a number of current and former public servants have appeared before the inquiry, but commercial banks have also made an appearance.
The inquiry is investigating allegations of corruption and state capture levelled against the Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma.
It has been alleged that Gupta family members used their relationship with Zuma to score business deals with state-owned enterprises. Billions were allegedly paid out to the family in suspicious business deals involving government officials.
Here's a break-down on what's happened so far at the inquiry chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
** Treasury official Willie Mathebula gave the inquiry and run down on procurement in government.
** Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas was the first high-profile witness to appear at the inquiry. Jonas told the inquiry how he was invited to a meeting in 2015 at the Gupta compound by Duduzane Zuma. He said in the meeting controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane was present. He said Ajay Gupta told him that former president Jacob Zuma was planning to fire then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and that he could be appointed as minister. Ajay offered him R500 000 in cash and a deposit of R500 million if took the job, Jonas said. He also revealed that Ajay had threatened to kill him if he spoke of the offer. Jonas declined the offer.
** Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor told the inquiry that Ajay Gupta offered her a ministerial post as the minister of public enterprises if she agreed that she would scrap the SAA route from India to Joburg when she became the minister. Mentor said she declined the offer.
** The former head of government communication and information services (GCIS), Themba Maseko, took the stand in late August and painted a grim picture of the Gupta family's attempts to get their hands of government advertising money. The Guptas were about to launch The New Age newspaper and they needed access to government departments' advertising spend which amounted to about R600 million for 2010\2011. He refused to help the family and was later fired by the former president and replaced by Mzwanele Manyi.
** Phumla Williams, the acting director-general at GCIS, told the inquiry how when Manyi was appointed to replace Maseko he made numerous changes to the agency which included taking over the media buying unit at the GCIS which dealt with advertising spend. Williams also told the inquiry how procurement officials were bullied into funding The New Age breakfast briefings, which did not qualify as appropriate advertising spend.
** National Treasury official Jan Gilliland said Gupta companies Infinity Media, which owned television news station ANN7, and The New Age received about R260 million from government departments on advertising spend over a number of years.
** The commission's chair granted Duduzane Zuma and Fana Hlongwane permission to cross-examine Jonas. He, however, denied Rajes and Ajay Gupta's applications to cross-examine. Zondo denied the Gupta brothers' application because of their unwillingness to return to SA and appear before the inquiry and provide their version of events. The two wanted to cross-examine Mentor, Maseko and Jonas.
** Zondo also asked former president Zuma to submit an affidavit regarding the two instances where he was implicated in witness testimonies. Zondo said it was important that Zuma submit the affidavit as he had been implicated and he had to explain his version of events. Both Maseko and Mentor implicated Zuma. The former president said he was considering Zondo's invitation.
** The inquiry also heard testimonies from the country's big four banks who detailed how ANC officials, Gwede Mantashe and Jessie Duarte, held meetings with officials from the banks in an attempt to persuade the banks to reverse their decisions to close Gupta related bank accounts. Some of the banks also met with an inter-ministerial committee chaired by former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane which questioned the banks' closure of the accounts.
** The now former minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene appear before the inquiry last month. He told the inquiry that he believes he was fired by Zuma in December 2015 because of his refusal to implement certain projects which include the nuclear deal. Nene also admitted to attending meetings at the Gupta residence in Saxonwold and also visited their Sahara offices after he was invited to do so by Ajay Gupta.
His admission at the inquiry cost him his job. He faced growing pressure to resign for lying as he said in 2015 that he had not met the Guptas, which was contrary to his testimony at the inquiry. He resigned on October 9 and was replaced by Tito Mboweni.
The inquiry resumes on Monday with the testimony of former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan. The Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan will also testify next week.