Former MEC took R10‚000 from Rajesh Gupta for 'travel expenses'

05 April 2019 - 19:14
By Amil Umraw
Former MEC of economic development in the Free State Mxolisi Dukwana has admitted accepting R10,000 allegedly from Rajesh Gupta.
Image: Masi Losi Former MEC of economic development in the Free State Mxolisi Dukwana has admitted accepting R10,000 allegedly from Rajesh Gupta.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana has admitted that he accepted R10‚000 from Rajesh Gupta in 2014‚ two years after he was axed from the provincial executive.

Dukwana claimed he was called to a meeting with Gupta at the family's Oakbay offices in Sandton in January 2014 and attended out of "curiosity". There‚ he was handed R10‚000 to compensate him for his travel expenses which he accepted - he had driven from Welkom to Johannesburg and back to attend the meeting.

This despite Dukwana explaining that he believed he was fired by then Free State premier (now ANC secretary general) Ace Magashule because the Gupta family had become frustrated with his unwillingness to do their bidding.

Dukwana was testifying before the state capture inquiry on Friday. He claimed that Magashule took him to meet Gupta on two occasions‚ in 2008 and 2012‚ under false pretences.

At the latter meeting‚ Dukwana was offered a R2m monthly kickback to push through a multi-billion rand construction contract in favour of a company linked to Iqbal Sharma‚ one of the Gupta family's business associates.

He refused the deal and was axed soon afterwards.

Speaking about the 2014 meeting with Rajesh‚ Dukwana said he wanted to find out the reason for the meeting.

"I met him and in the meeting he just wanted to know how I was doing‚ what was happening in my life …. In the midst of the discussion‚ he then indicated to me that he warned me about contesting Ace Magashule‚" said Dukwana.

"It was very interesting because I thought he would be angry but he came out like a person who was trying to find out more about me and my family ... "

He was offered the cash and took it when the meeting concluded.

Earlier in his testimony‚ Dukwana described the circumstances around his dismissal in 2012.

During an official meeting in Johannesburg in February that year‚ he said he received a call from Mamiti Qabathe‚ the ANC's provincial deputy secretary at the time.

"She said [Magashule] was unable to talk to me because he was busy in consultation because of what he intends doing‚ to reshuffle the executive council …. She then intimated to me that [Magashule] wanted to bring a 50/50 spread in the executive council and decided that I must go. I knew there and then the reason was not because of the 50/50 spread but because of the frustration that they didn’t get what they wanted‚" Dukwana said.

"I was to vacate the office with immediate effect … [Magashule] had not said anything from that day up until now‚ he has never said anything."

Dukwana will return to the commission once the Free State provincial government releases more information that he has requested to corroborate his evidence. This includes his diary‚ copies of his emails and electronic documentation.

The commission will return on Monday when it will hear evidence of alleged state capture in law enforcement agencies.