Fikile Mbalula says Ajay Gupta congratulated him before his ministerial post was official

22 March 2019 - 12:57
By Amil Umraw
ANC elections head, Fikile Mbalula, at the  Zondo inquiry into state capture.
Image: ALAISTER RUSSELL/SUNDAY TIMES ANC elections head, Fikile Mbalula, at the Zondo inquiry into state capture.

ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula told the Zondo commission into state capture on Friday that he received a call from Ajay Gupta telling him he would be appointed the minister of sport and recreation before the appointment was made official by former president Jacob Zuma.

His statement mainly deals with a meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) in 2011. He also said that 

In an affidavit deposed with the commission, Gupta confirmed the call saying he only did so based on what he had read in the newspapers.

Mbalula said he raised the issue in the ruling party’s national executive committee (NEC). He said when he raised the issue, people looked down and kept quiet. But the issue was later condemned by the ANC. 

He said after the August 2011 NEC meeting the issue of the Guptas kept coming up with other ANC members getting more vocal towards the Nasrec conference which elected Cyril Ramaphosa as new party leader.

Mbalula also told judge Raymond Zondo that the looting of state resources was “against the purpose of why people vote us into power”.

“The matter of the perception or reality out there that resources of the state are basically being looted or redirected to individuals because of their proximity to those who are in power and they use that as an advantage … it is politically incorrect‚” said Mbalula.

“It is against the purpose of why people vote us into power and give us the mandate to govern. It means that we cannot allow that to happen in the way it has been reported or suggested.

“Ascendance into political power for any political party or liberation movement excretes tendencies that have been seen in other countries‚ bringing what we call a revolution to a halt.

“We have learnt from other revolutions or other liberation struggles around the world. We were forewarned in our own documents politically when we analysed the SA revolution.… Indeed‚ we are grappling with that and the important thing is about the commitment of the ANC to overcome and undo these tendencies as they creep in.”

Mbalula said that he never had a relationship with the Guptas.

The Gupta family were close associates of Zuma and are alleged to have used the friendship to enrich themselves.