Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo. Picture: ALON SKUY
Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo. Picture: ALON SKUY

The Gupta leaks e-mails may now be presented as evidence in the Zondo commission, and witnesses can be questioned based on the e-mails. 

On Friday morning, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo ruled that the forensic image of the original hard drive and two copies of it be received as evidence by the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

The tranche of e-mails, which was first leaked to the media, provided evidence of the controversial family’s influence over the running of the state.

The original hard drive was damaged, but a European expert recovered almost all of it, the commission heard on Thursday. It was said that this expertly recovered forensic image of the original hard drive had even more data on it than the hard drive that was given to journalists and was reported on in detail.

The commission’s legal team had on Thursday asked that the hard drives be admitted into evidence. The hard drives are currently in safekeeping by the commission.

On Friday, however, advocate Kate Hofmeyr amended the notice of motion to ask that the evidence just be received by the commission. Paul Pretorius, head of the commission’s legal team, on Friday also announced that finance minister Nhlanhla Nene would testify on October 3.

Nene was axed as finance minister by former president Jacob Zuma in December 2015 and replaced by the little known Des van Rooyen. Van Rooyen was finance minister for only a weekend before he was replaced by Pravin Gordhan, now minister of public enterprises, following pressure from ANC leaders and business on Zuma.

The commission has heard evidence that former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas that a Gupta brother had offered him the position of finance minister a few months before Nene was axed. Jonas testified that when he was offered the job, the Gupta brother said they considered the national treasury to be a “stumbling block” and that when he was made finance minister they would require him to remove Lungisa Fuzile, treasury director-general at the time, as well as Kenneth Brown, the procurement chief at the time, Ismail Momoniat, current deputy director-general, and Andrew Donaldson, a former deputy director-general.

Zondo ruled that should anyone want to have access to the data before the evidence is presented by the commission’s legal team, they should seek the leave of the commission.

MailovichC@businesslive.co.za