Former Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula gives evidence at the state capture inquiry. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).
Johannesburg - Former sports and recreation minister Fikile Mbalula has described the allegations that he is "a Gupta minster" as a psychological burden and he used his testimony at the Zondo commission to clear untruths regarding his 2010 appointment. 

"This has been an albatross for me because everywhere I go I would be asked 'are you a Gupta minister'. I accept that I had not answered that question as I was supposed to and today I decided to come to the commission and put the facts," said Mbalula.  

Mbalula appeared at the inquiry on Friday and vehemently denied he was appointed by the Guptas and said he was merely congratulated by Ajay Gupta during a phone call. 

There had been accusations that Mbalula, like other ministers, was appointed by the Guptas. 

EFF leader Julius Malema even called on Mbalula to confess to the matter. Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela asked Mbalula about these accusations. 

Mbalula insisted that he was never appointed by the Guptas and instead said he received a call from Gupta congratulating him on his appointment as sports minister, even before he was informed by former president Jacob Zuma. 

At the commission, he spoke in detail about the call from Gupta, even though he could not remember the date. 

He was questioned by the evidence leader Advocate Leah Gcabashe and commission chair deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on why he never disclosed this call when he spoke to the Public Protector. 

Mbalula insisted that the Public Protector was probing him on whether he was appointed by the Guptas and never regarding his confession at the NEC meeting and, as such, the issue did not arise. 

The former minister said at the inquiry he was specifically responding to the testimonies of Trevor Manuel and retired General Sphiwe Nyanda.

Both men testified that Mbalula told ANC NEC members in 2011 about his call with Gupta and how he was congratulated by him on his appointment. 

Mbalula confirmed a similar version to the commission. 

The ANC's head of elections also told the commission that he had met Gupta three times before, once at the family's compound in Saxonwold, twice at their Sahara offices and again during a cricket match. 

He also spoke about how the Gupta's were unrepentant and continued to capture the state even after he had made the revelations at the ANC NEC meeting. 

 "The fact that so many events unfolded after the 2011 revelation, means that those who were accused of this were unrepentant. They were, in fact, ungovernable in the manner they did things. As much as they can come before the commission and say we did nothing wrong.  The ways of going about it were totally incorrect," said Mbalula. 

He also encouraged his fellow ANC members to come forward and testify at the commission. 

"A call has been made for the ANC to help the commission in any way that we can and I'll say to them come forward, if you don't you will be subpoenaed. So if you have been implicated, come forward and state the facts," said Mbalula. 

The commission will resume on Monday.

Political Bureau