Johannesburg – Former Cabinet Minister Siphiwe Nyanda told the State Investigation Investigation Commission that he met with Gupta brothers when they were with Duduzane Zuma, the son of former President Jacob Zuma.
Nyanda said the Guptas came to their office to introduce themselves and their technology company, Sahara Computers.
He said that the brothers expressed the desire to see him again, but not in his office. Then they sent representatives to request another meeting.
The Guptas suspect they had a significant influence on the appointment and the resignation of ministers that could improve their commercial interests.
Under his portfolio as Minister of Communications, Nyanda had control over SABC, Icasa, Films and Publications Board and Brand SA, among others.
"I found one of them who came to my office with Duduzane Zuma and introduced their company Sahara Computers. I did not suspect anything because there were many people who wanted to see me in private, but I always insisted [meeting in] my office, "said Nyanda.
Nyanda's meeting with the Guptas declined because it was fired by Zuma during one of the remodeling of the former president's cabinet in 2010.
Before the day, former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel testified that the remodeling was intended to replace reluctant ministers with disabilities who worked to promote the commercial interests of the Gupta family within the government.
Nyanda said he had heard rumors that it would be removed, but did not believe in them because he thought he was doing a good job, received credit for changes and there was general stability in the portfolios he oversaw.
"I was in Durban and was called by someone from the presidency to go to Mahlamba Ndlopfu (the official presidential residence in Pretoria). I told them that I was still in Durban and then I received another call from President Zuma. He told me that I was being redistributed as an ambassador to Germany, "said Nyanda.
"He told me that the officials had redistributed me to Germany, but I could not go and I chose to go to the back banks of the parliament. I tried to see the officers, nothing was known about this. When I asked for reasons for my removal, President Zuma, whispered something about the SABC. "
Nyanda also confirmed that Fikile Mbalula was informed by the Guptas of her pending appointment as a sports minister in 2010.
Manuel testified that Mbalula made an emotional confession during the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) in August 2011, saying that the Guptas called him his Saxonwold mansion to congratulate him for the promotion. This allegedly happened before Zuma informed him about the change to the new post. Mbalula was deputy minister of police at the time.
Manuel said: "Mbalula made this surprising revelation that I think it was a criticism of how he was informed of the pending appointment, he was disturbed by him. He said they were told that he would be a minister and later he was appointed a minister."
"I think he was doing it because he was annoyed to be approached by people who did not have any business knowing that he would be a minister."
Nyanda said the matter was never discussed in the ANC structures after the NEC meeting. He said he did not remember Zuma reacting to Mbalula's allegation.
"I could not understand why Mbalula would claim something so serious and did not receive any response. It was dangerous for the ANC," he said.
Nyanda completed her testimony retransmitting the events that led to the unconditional calls 101 by writing a letter to the ANC in 2016. This happened after former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas revealed that the Guptas offered him a job as finance minister and a R600 million bribe
Nyanda said that Zuma was very unhappy about his calls for him to resign, saying he would serve until the end of his term because he was not voted for by them but by the branches of the party.
On Friday, the investigation will continue to hear witnessing about alleged corruption in Eskom as power treasurer Andre Frank Pillay takes the stance.
African news agency (ANA)