Seven astonishing moments in Mcebisi Jonas’s testimony on Guptas
Gupta said his family controlled the state and former president Jacob Zuma would do whatever they told him to do
Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who was fired by former president Jacob Zuma, has begun testifying at the Zondo commission into state capture. He started out by testifying about what occurred at a meeting between him, Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma and Fana Hlongwane at the Guptas' Saxonwold compound in Johannesburg in 2015.
Here are seven astonishing revelations he made in his testimony:
1. Then president Jacob Zuma never informed him that he had been fired
“I actually saw it on TV. To date I never received any formal information on my removal.”
2. The Guptas told him they collected intelligence on him and others
“He said that ‘we have been gathering intelligence on you’ including those closest to you such as my friend Rasta Mohommed and my chief of staff. He described both as being poor and useless.
“He emphasized that they — which I understood to be the Gupta family — had the ability to gather such information and that they had gathered a lot of information on me which they could use against me.”
3. Gupta threatened to kill him if he revealed the meeting had taken place
“He said that as far as he was concerned, this meeting never happened and that if one day I were to suggest that this meeting had occurred, they would destroy my political career. I listened. He was talking like a radio.
“At the end of the meeting, Mr Gupta said they had information on me and that if I suggested that the meeting had occurred, they would kill me.”
4. Gupta said they knew Zuma was going to fire then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene
“Mr Gupta said the old man — referring to the president — seemed to like me and that they have called me to check me out and so see, and I quote, ‘whether you can work with us’.
“He also said that the president was going to fire Mr Nene because he could not work with them. I understood this again to be a reference to the Gupta family.”
5. Gupta said his family controlled the state and president Zuma would do whatever they told him to do
“He said: ‘You must understand that we are in control of everything — the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks, the National Intelligence Agency and the old man will do anything we tell him to do.’”
6. Gupta said they had made Duduzane Zuma a billionaire
“He said emphatically that I must become minister of finance ‘because that is what we want’. He also said that if I worked with them, I would become very rich and that he could immediately offer me R600m.
“He pointed at Mr Duduzane and said that they had made him a billionaire and that he had bought a house in Dubai. He said they had worked closely with a number of people, including Lynne Brown and Brian Molefe. As a result, they were protected. In other words, those that work for them are protected.”
7. Gupta said the family earned R6bn from the fiscus
“He said that at the moment we — and I understood him to mean the Gupta family — earn about R6bn from the fiscus through various entities, including Eskom, Transnet and government departments. He said they wanted to increase this amount to R8bn and that they thought I could be helpful in this regard.
“Mr Gupta said they had determined that the National Treasury was a stumbling block for their growth and that they wanted to and, again I quote, ‘to clean up Treasury’.