‘Mbalula confessed to Gupta meeting’
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel has implicated Atul Gupta at the state capture inquiry with testimony that suggests the middle Gupta brother unlawfully interfered in the appointment of Fikile Mbalula as sports minister.
But on Thursday, Mbalula said it was not Atul who appeared to have foreknowledge of his 2010 appointment, but rather his brother, Ajay.
“It was not Atul who congratulated me about getting the position of sports minister. It was Ajay.
“The commission has asked me about this, but I haven’t given it a statement.
“I’ve answered all their questions to the best of my ability and I’m willing to testify,” Mbalula said. The Guptas’ lawyers have reiterated that Atul “has never met Mr Fikile Mbalula” – and say that Ajay had congratulated Mbalula as a result of “positive and public media speculation” that he would be appointed.
In a brief statement to the Zondo commission, Manuel detailed how Mbalula had made a tearful confession to the ANC’s national executive committee about his interaction with “Atul Gupta”.
“At this meeting, Mr Mbalula tearfully recounted that he had been summoned to the Gupta residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, where he was informed by Mr Atul Gupta that he would be promoted from deputy minister of police to minister of sport and recreation.”–