‘Mbalula con­fessed to Gupta meet­ing’

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Karyn Maughan

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.”–

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