Former finance minister Mcebisi Jonas dropped several bombshells during his testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Here are five of his most shocking revelations:
About the meeting with a Gupta brother, whom he didn’t name, during which he was offered a R600 million bribe after Duduzane Zuma had dragged him to the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound, Jonas said:
This guy came in and just interrupted when we were chatting and he said: “We have been following you, we have been investigating you, we know everything about you.”
He said the old man [Jacob Zuma] seems to like me “and so we called you just to check you out”.
He said: “You must understand that we are in control of everything; we are in control of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority]; we are in control of the Hawks; we are in control of National Intelligence; so we are in full control and the old man will do everything that we tell him to do. The old man wants to make you the minister of finance.”
So I said: “Unfortunately, I do not want to be minister of finance.”
So, he said: “No, no, no, no, you have to be minister of finance because we want that.
“And you will have to work with us and if you work with us you’ll be very rich,” he said.
“And we can immediately offer you R600 million.”
He pointed at Duduzane and said: “He has a house now, we built him a house in Dubai.”
How Jonas struggled to get out of the Guptas’ house
So, I told him: “Listen, I think I have to go. But let me assure you, I am not interested in working for you.”
And he [Gupta] became a bit emotional and at that point he said: “Listen, do you know who you are dealing with?”
So I stood up and he followed me ... and by that time ... he was on the verge of punching me in the face ... So I stood up and walked. He followed me and [told the others] to sit. He dragged me into a bar and said: “Do you have a bag? I can give you R600 000 now.” I said: “I don’t want money. I don’t want your money. I am leaving now and I am rushing for a plane.”
At the end of the meeting, Mr Gupta repeated that they had information on me and if I suggested that the meeting had occurred, they would kill me.
About the Gupta brother’s demeanour:
This guy sounded very stupid, I must say, because he said: “At the moment we have about R6 billion from fiscus ... we want to push it to R8 billion and we think you can be helpful in that regard.” He asked: “You think it is illegal? Everything we do in this country is legal. We create jobs ...”
They (Duduzane Zuma and Fana Hlongwane) heard all of this. The guy was very boastful and loud. It was not a low voice.
How Pravin Gordhan convinced him not to resign
That Sunday I phoned Pravin and said: “Please, can you quickly see me?” I gave him an outline [of what happened] in broad terms and said I was thinking of submitting my resignation. He said: “No, no, no, you can’t do that. Let’s just sit and wait and see what happens.”
So when I told [then finance minister Nhlanhla] Nene he jumped and said he wanted to resign. And I said: “No, no, no, let’s see how these things go.”
About how the Hawks’ anti-corruption head Major-General Zinhle Mnonopi was determined to “kill” the cases laid by Cope (Congress of the People) and DA members after the bribe reports:
“I was contacted by Major-General Mnonopi of the Hawks. She initially contacted me in June 2016 ... she was investigating complaints that had been laid by Mr [Dennis] Bloem and Mr [David] Maynier ... She said she was coming to see me with a prepared statement ... I called my attorney, Max Boqwana ...
Major-General Mnonopi told me this was a “DA matter” and that ... they wanted to kill the case.
She said ... the prosecutor believed it could kill the case. “We need your statement as a matter of finality as there is no case. It is necessary for us to close the matter. Your statement must state that you are not a witness for anyone and that you do not want to make a statement as such.”