'I owe Guptas nothing for airlifting me to Russia'‚ says David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza
Deputy President David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza says the fact that the Guptas once airlifted him to medical help him Russia does not mean he owes them anything and he wants them "brought to book".

Mabuza made the remarks in the National Assembly on Wednesday while responding to questions from MPs on what government was doing to tackle board members of state-owned companies who had been implicated in allegations of state capture.

EFF MP Hlengiwe Hlope-Maxon had specifically wanted to know from the deputy president what he was doing to assist law enforcement to trace the controversial Gupta family "who arranged a Gupta jet for you to go to Russia".

Mabuza flew to Russia in a Gupta-linked jet in 2015 to receive specialised medical care following allegations of poisoning.

Responding to Hlophe-Maxon and other MPs‚ Mabuza said the government would trace the Guptas wherever they might be hiding.

He said the fact that they had once assisted him in his hour of need did not mean he owed them any favours.

"I'm confident that no one will escape this process‚" he said.

"Honourable member rest assured‚ when I've been given a lift to hospital does not mean the Guptas‚ if they've done something wrong‚ they should not be brought to book. If they've done something wrong they will (be brought to book).

"I used to say that if you come across an accident and you find people trapped in a car…your duty as a citizen is to help those people and take them to hospital. And these people don't owe you anything for taking them to hospital‚ you were just helping as a citizen‚ thank you very much‚" said Mabuza.

Asked by DA MP Natasha Mazzone if the executive was in a position to assist Parliament with issuing summonses to the Guptas‚ who are said to be in Dubai‚ Mabuza said "there should be a way of sensitising those countries”.

"There are no people that will escape our law‚ we’ve got institutions that will pursue these individuals and we'll find them. With those countries‚ wherever they are‚ there should be a way of sensitising those countries that these people have got certain things to answer in South Africa and there must be a way of getting them back to answer."

He said Eskom had instituted at least 8 disciplinary hearings against the same number of senior managers but that these had been aborted when most of them had chosen to resign before proceedings could begin.

Mabuza said the government was still in the process of reviewing the criteria followed to appoint board members and that President Cyril Ramaphosa would soon be announcing the establishment of a council on state-owned companies.

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