Guptas met communications minister two months before ANN7 launch
'I haven’t seen anything that you are talking about. I have heard that there are these emails but I have not seen them and I am not really interested'
Disgraced former communications minister Dina Pule may also have visited the Gupta family home in Saxonwold two months before the family launched ANN7‚ its 24-hour television channel‚ leaked emails suggest.
Pule was reluctant to be drawn on the apparent visit on Wednesday‚ ending a telephonic request for comment with a “no comment”.
She did not deny visiting the Gupta home.
Leaked emails show that a meeting was scheduled via an Outlook Calendar for 6pm on Tuesday‚ October 2‚ 2012 while Pule was still communications minister.
The subject line reads “Mr Tony Meeting Diane Pule Ace @ 6pm Tues 2 Oct – No. 5 Saxon”.
Two months later‚ in August 2013‚ ANN7 was launched.
President Jacob Zuma fired Pule in July 2013‚ replacing her with Yunus Carrim.
Pule was sacked after an investigation by parliament’s Ethics Committee found her guilty of breaking the legislature’s ethics rules after her boyfriend Phosane Mngqibisa’s company received R6-million of R15-million in sponsorship for MTN’s 2012 ICT Indaba.
Mngqibisa had also benefited irregularly at taxpayers’ expense after it was found the department of communications paid for one or more international trips‚ including an official trip with Pule to Mexico and the US.
“I don’t know what you are talking about‚” said Pule on Wednesday of the meeting note in the Gupta email cache.
“I haven’t seen anything that you are talking about. I have heard that there are these emails but I have not seen them and I am not really interested‚” Pule said.
TimesLIVE previously reported that Free State Premier Ace Magashule may have visited the Gupta family’s Saxonwold home in October 2012‚ the same day as Pule.
Contained in the leaked emails‚ is an Outlook diary entry for October 2 which schedules a meeting between “Gift Father” and Tony Gupta at the family’s Saxonwold compound. This is believed to be a reference to the premier’s son‚ Tshepiso Gift Magashule – who has long been associated with the family.
The meeting event on Outlook was created by Tony‚ according to the emails.
The Magashule family’s links to the Guptas are quickly becoming clearer with the Sunday Times reporting at the weekend that both Tsephiso and Thato‚ Ace’s other son‚ benefitted from an eight-day stay at the luxurious Oberoi hotel in Dubai on the Gupta family’s Sahara Computer’s account in December 2015.
In a statement last week‚ Magashule’s spokesperson Tiisetso Makhele said: “The Free State Premier has noted the so-called email communications circulating in various media circles. The provincial government has noted the relevant authorities‚ including the Hawks‚ have embarked on investigations which are intended to test the validity and authenticity of such emails.
“Until such investigations are concluded‚ the Premier and the Free State provincial government shall not respond.”
On Wednesday he reconfirmed this was still Magashule’s position.