Ten shocking things we have learnt from the state capture commission so far
Mcebisi Jonas, Vytjie Mentor and Themba Maseko have revealed the inner workings of the Gupta machine, with some startling revelations
1. Jacob Zuma gave the orders
In his testimony, former government spokesperson Themba Maseko disclosed that former president Jacob Zuma had personally called him and told him to give the Guptas what they wanted. He said: "My brother, there are these Gupta guys who need to meet you and who need your help. Please help them."
2. The Guptas 'dealt with' ministers who did not listen to them
Maseko was told by Ajay Gupta that if ministers did not co-operate with a scam to get government advertising money to their media products, "he would deal with them directly". Maseko said: "I asked him to elaborate and he told me that he will personally summon and deal with any minister who doesn't co-operate in this regard."
3. The Guptas could get you fired from your government job
After Maseko refused to hand over the entire government advertising budget to the Guptas, he was fired. He recalled: "A cabinet meeting took place the following Wednesday. During the course of the cabinet meeting, I was informed that eTV news channel was running with the news story that I was fired.
"[Minister Collins] Chabane consulted with the president during the break and an impromptu announcement had to be made to the cabinet that I had been terminated as GCIS CEO and government spokesperson."
4. The Guptas took charge soon after Zuma became president
In her testimony, Vytjie Mentor told how in early 2010, the Guptas were already "running things". They wanted to appoint her minister of public enterprises so she could stop the SAA route to Mumbai. The Guptas wanted the route for another airline.
"[Ajay Gupta] said he could put in a good word with the president. He said ‘we normally do’."
5. The Guptas admitted they collected intelligence on political figures they wished to influence
Mcebisi Jonas testified about his meeting with Ajay Gupta at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold. “He said that ‘we have been gathering intelligence on you’ including those closest to you.
“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.”
6. The Guptas bragged that they controlled the investigative and prosecutorial parts of the criminal justice system
“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’.”
7. The Guptas bragged that they earned R6bn from the government
Jonas testified that Ajay Gupta had bragged about how much money they made from the state. “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 Treasury was a stumbling block for their growth and that they wanted to and, again I quote, ‘to clean up Treasury’."
8. The Guptas threatened to kill
Jonas testified that Ajay Gupta had threatened to kill him if he revealed anything about their meeting. “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.”
9. The ANC knew about the Gupta state capture plan as early as 2010
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor told the commission that she had informed parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence, then chaired by Siyabonga Cwele, and the ANC secretariat that Ajay Gupta had offered her a ministerial job in 2010.
10. The Guptas bragged that they had made Duduzane Zuma a billionaire
Jonas testified: “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.”