Former government spokesperson Themba Maseko has revealed that a number of public officials were “too scared” to come forward with information relating to the alleged payments made by government into the back pockets of the Guptas.
To illustrate this, Maseko spoke of how the heads of intelligence services were removed after they had drawn up a report about how the Guptas had become a security risk.
Maseko, speaking at the State Capture Inquiry on Wednesday afternoon, shed light on a 2016 memorandum signed by 27 former directors general demanding a commission of inquiry into state capture.
He said, at the time serving directors general did not sign the document fearing “reprisals including losing their jobs”.
Maseko said he could provide details of the Gupta family’s influence on government tenders and the conduct of Cabinet ministers.
“I am convinced there are a number of senior public servants and middle managers who have had experiences with a number of individuals, including the Gupta family or pertaining to the conduct of their political bosses, who have information, who can be willing to give information to the commission,” Maseko said.
Mentor thanks commission after safety concerns
Earlier, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor ended her testimony by thanking the commission for its work in helping to ensure that she was safe.
Mentor broke down on Tuesday and told the commission that she feared for her life.
She told the commission’s chair, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, that her hotel room door was “faulty”.
Zondo had asked his commission to look into the matter.
“My family expresses gratefulness to the commission and to the chair in particular. I thank you chair,” Mentor said.
But Mentor’s testimony was filled with many gaps, and she had to clarify various points.
Picking up from Tuesday’s sitting, Advocate Mahlape Sello asked Mentor about how she recognised one of the Gupta brothers who had fetched her at OR Tambo International Airport, yet in her interview with former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela she said she had never met them before.
Mentor attributed the conflicting testimonies to the rushed manner in which the affidavit was completed.
“I take full responsibility that even if it was an urgent court application you have to read very carefully,” Mentor said.
Mentor said that while she was in Cape Town, her lawyers were in Johannesburg and this may have led to “errors”.
Mantashe to sue Mentor
In a plot twist, former ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe will apparently be suing Mentor.
Mentor said that Mantashe and ANC MP Jessie Duarte had dismissed her claims that the Gupta brothers had offered her a ministerial position.
Mantashe, the current mineral resources minister, told eNCA that Mentor was suffering from a “memory lapse”, as Duarte was his deputy in 2012, and not 2010 – when Mentor said that she had spoken to the pair.
Mantashe also said that he would appear before the commission should he be asked to verify or deny Mentor’s allegations.
Duarte on Tuesday also dismissed Mentor’s claims.
- Additional reporting by News24