Untested allegations don’t matter when it comes to the probe related to state capture, but what matters is “that little thing called the facts and the truth”, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has said.
“We will all subject ourselves to the state capture commission ... In that case, we will provide responses to issues that pertain to us and put clarity to any allegations. So what matters is not the untested allegations.
“The court of public opinion is not a court at all.
“It can lynch you, it can perpetrate its perceptions and speculation – all of those,” he said.
“What matters in the end is that little thing called the facts and the truth, which I think all must be prepared to subject themselves to. It is an important process. I have supported it,” Gigaba said at a media conference.
Gigaba has been linked to the Gupta family and friends of former president Jacob Zuma, and associated with alleged corrupt activities in numerous ways, including taking decisions while he was a Cabinet minister, which benefited Gupta businesses.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Friday that the once-powerful Gupta empire was collapsing, with at least eight businesses filing for business rescue this week.
“This means that the hundreds of millions of rands in this empire have now disappeared,” Outa said.
“The empire is believed to have been founded on money stolen from our government, which is now hiking taxes to make ends meet,” Outa said.
The affected companies are Optimum Coal Mine, Optimum Coal Terminal, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, Koornfontein Mines, Shiva Uranium, Islandsite Investments One Hundred and Eighty, Confident Concept, and VR Laser Services, it said.
In another development, the Pretoria High Court has ruled that Gigaba lied under oath when he testified during his tenure as home affairs minister in a case filed by Fireblade Aviation, which is controlled by the Oppenheimer family, in a matter that again involved the Guptas, Bloomberg reported.
“The minister deliberately told untruths under oath,” Judge Neil Tuchten ruled. “The minister has committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation.
“The decision of the court is being challenged. There is an appeal on the judgment. At no stage was there an agreement with Fireblade...” Gigaba said at a media conference.
“There is a legal problem. Legally you cannot operate a private terminal for a family. Not for the country, not for public use, for a family.”
Fireblade filed a lawsuit against Gigaba alleging that he had reneged on a pledge to delegate officials to staff its immigration and customs facility that was to be developed at OR Tambo International Airport on land rented from arms manufacturer Denel.
Gigaba denied approving the terminal. The court ruled in Fireblade’s favour.