Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan smiles at the state capture inquiry before giving evidence for the third day on Wednesday. Picture: MASI LOSI
Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan smiles at the state capture inquiry before giving evidence for the third day on Wednesday. Picture: MASI LOSI

Barbara Hogan did not meet the controversial Gupta family while she was serving as public enterprises minister.

Hogan told the state capture inquiry on Wednesday that she had met members of the family on two occasions, once in 2004 and then again when she was no longer a minister.

She said that in 2004, Essop Pahad, in whose home Ahmed Kathrada — her partner the late struggle stalwart — had spent a lot of time as a young child, called and invited the couple to a lunch with some of his friends.

Hogan said the Guptas were there, and it was the first time she got to know about them, but did not talk to them at the lunch. The next occasion was after she was fired as a minister, when she and Kathrada were invited to a lunch with the Indian high commission, to meet a cabinet minister from India.

Hogan said Ajay Gupta arrived at the event and sat at a table alone. She said he seemed to be in a ‘‘filthy mood’’ and did not talk to anyone. 

Hogan also testified to the commission on Wednesday about the cancellation of SAA's Johannesburg to Mumbai route. She said she was confused when she heard SAA was looking at cancelling the India route, because it was actually the ‘‘least loss-making’’ route. 

She said that at the time she was aware that many of SAA's international routes were recording losses but the Mumbai route was not as bad as others.  This was happening at a time when the Gupta-linked Jet Airways, an Indian airline, was lobbying to take over that same route. 

Hogan had told the commission, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, that she believes former president Jacob Zuma removed her as public enterprise minister because she would not do his bidding in relation to state-owned enterprises, and the appointment of boards and CEOs. 

Hogan said that when was told about the cancelling of the SAA route, she was in India with Zuma. She contacted the airline's chair at the time, Cheryl Carolus. 

She said Carolus told her, via a text message, that this was not true and that Jet Airways India would be in SA for a meeting and was ‘‘lobbying hard’’ for SAA to end the Mumbai flight. The board, however, was not having that. 

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, during her testimony to the inquiry, said she was offered Hogan's job before she was fired, on condition that she would terminate SAA's Johannesburg to Mumbai route. 

Mentor said she had refused and Hogan's job was given to Malusi Gigaba.

The SAA route to Mumbai was terminated under Gigaba. 

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