Zwane quizzed on why he took a 'lift' on Gupta flight
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FORMER Minerals Resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been questioned why he took a "lift" on a Gupta charted flight to India in December 2015.
Zwane appeared at the inquiry on Tuesday.
He was questioned on his visit to the Swiss Alps, deemed a visit to help broker a deal for Gupta owned-Tegeta to obtain a coal mine from Glencore.
When the trip concluded on December 2 that year, Zwane said he took up Tony Gupta's offer to join them on a flight to India.
Zwane said he had also intended to go to India to meet with potential investors. The former minister also said he suffered from a throat infection and could not communicate and that was why he took a "lift" with Gupta. This was even though his department had paid for his travel arrangements to India.
"I had raised an issue that I was on my way to India and Tony Gupta also said they are going to India. I requested they give me a lift to India because of the condition of my throat. I am putting this to this commission that I took a commercial flight and did the work there, after the meeting I had a throat problem and I requested a lift to India because I was struggling to express myself," Zwane explained.
He also said he underwent a surgical operation for his throat in India at a public hospital. He claims he paid for this hospital stay.
But according to records, obtained by the commission's investigators, the surgical operation was funded by the Guptas.
Zwane denied this and insisted he funded his healthcare.
"I paid for my expenses, I went to a public hospital and not a private hospital. I queued with all the people there," he said.
The commission’s chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo questioned Zwane on why he did not return to South African when his health condition was deteriorating.
Zwane replied he did not see a need because he had experienced a similar issue when he visited Russia.
Zwane said on his return home from India, he also "caught a lift" with Tony Gupta to Dubai where he was to catch a flight back to SA.
"On December 5, I had to ask for a lift from Tony to Dubai. I then got my flight to SA," Zwane explained.
Zwane was also questioned on how many times he had met the Guptas. He said had met Tony Gupta before, during an ANC Free State PEC meeting, and on another occasion was when he flew to Switzerland. On Salim Essa, he claimed he only met him during the Switzerland visit.