Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo appears to have partly taken the sting out of the debate surrounding the veracity of the #GuptaEmails. Many of those implicated in emails leaked to amaBhunage and Scorpio have contested the authenticity of the email tranche.
Dlodlo confirmed to The Sowetan that she had stayed at the Oberoi Hotel as per two invoices shown in several emails. Although her booking was secured by Sahara Computers, a Gupta-owned company, the hotel bills were settled by notorious businessman and “arms deal fixer” Fana Hlongwane.
The Sowetan quotes Sarah Ben Haouem, Oberoi’s sales executive, as having written: “Dear Shu [Ashu Chawla, Sahara CEO]. The charges for Ms Dlodlo were settled by Fana Hlongwane.”
The charges included a spa massage, room service, accommodation and car hire.
This is consistent with weekend newspaper reports that the CEO of Sahara and Oakbay, despite their executive positions, were given menial duties such as booking hotel accommodation, arranging Duduzane Zuma’s wedding, preparing media responses for Collen Maine and drafting Dr Ben Ngubane’s first speech as the Eskom board chairperson.
According to the report, Dlodlo confirmed the trip, but pointed out it was for private business.
“I was actually on my way to Jordan, and I made a stopover in Dubai. Fana [Hlongwane] was there. All I know is that it was an arrangement between Fana and I, and that was it. I’ve known Fana since I was a kid. We grew up in the same township, we are like family, and we come a long way,” The Sowetan quoted Dlodlo, an Umkhonto weSizwe veteran, as saying.
Gert van der Merwe, the Guptas’ legal representative, has consistently told the media he will not comment until the veracity of the emails has been determined.