Johannesburg - The Gupta family demonstrated their power by summoning ministers to their homes and even intimidating investors at post-mining Indaba events hosted at their private home in Cape Town, Ngoako Ramathlodi told the Zondo commission.
Ramathlodi pulled no punches as he detailed how he was told that he would likely be invited by Guptas to their private home following the mining Indaba which is hosted in Cape Town every year.
The former minister of mineral resources said he refused but he was informed that former ministers in his department and the director generals, and their deputies, would attend the event at the Gupta home. Ramathlodi's predecessor in the department was Susan Shabangu.
"We have an annual Mining Indaba. I was told by my director general about how things worked before. He told me that before that he and director generals and deputy director generals of the mineral resources department would be hosted by the Guptas at their Cape Town home. They would then call other people to attend," said Ramathlodi.
The chairperson of the commission deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo appeared visibly shocked by the revelation and asked; "At their home? private home?" Ramathlodi replied: "Yes"
The ANC national executive member (NEC), who was fired twice by Zuma, said he did not attend those events.
"What I did was to say to the DG (is) that this would not happen on my watch. There is no one who will be hosted by those people," he said.
Ramathlodi said this was the Guptas demonstrating their power and bullying people to do as they wished.
"They were demonstrating power. What they do is they would call this department there and then they would call people who would be investors and say 'You see the whole department is here we want you to do this and that'. They were demonstrating power. The whole department would go there. The ministers would be there, the previous ministers," said Ramathlodi.
"They would intimidate people. 'If you do not go there you would not get that'... they were demonstrating their power. Chair the Guptas had the power to summon the president and ministers in their home and they would boast about it. They want to meet you in their home," he said.
Ramathlodi also told the commission that some of the members of the ANC NEC confronted Zuma about his toxic relationship with the Guptas, and the former president would simply say those were his friends and they had assisted his children, Duduzane and Edward, with jobs.
He said Zuma had strong support within the ANC NEC and that power was solidified and explained why he survived for so long as the leader of the ANC and country.IOL