Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
3 Oct 2018
5:06 pm

WATCH: Nene caught lying about Gupta meetings

Daniel Friedman

While the finance minister admitted to having met the Guptas several times, he previously denied this in a clip that has been widely viewed.

Ajay Gupta at the launch of ANN7 news channel on August 21, 2013, in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / James Oatway)

A clip that has been repeated on eNCA today shows finance minister Nhlanhla Nene seemingly caught lying about his links to the controversial family.

In the clip, the minister claims that while he was deputy finance minister or finance minister he only ever saw the Guptas at public gatherings, and has never been invited to any “engagements” with the Indian-born businessmen widely believed to have played a role in capturing the South African state.

READ MORE: Why I refused to sign off on nuclear deal despite Zuma pressure – Nene

This directly contradicts his evidence at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday, where he told the inquiry’s chairperson Justice Raymond Zondo that he had met with the family four times between 2010 and 2013, while he was indeed deputy minister of finance.

Nene also mentioned a fifth meeting, alleging that Ajay Gupta had used it as an opportunity to try extract information from him.

The clip was played repeatedly on eNCA today and was also tweeted by EFF leader Julius Malema, who also pinned the clip to his Twitter page.

Malema and the EFF have made various claims about Nene including that they know “dark secrets” about him and appear to be making discrediting the ANC politician a current priority, marking a departure from the expressions of support both the EFF commander-in-chief and his party have shown towards him in the past.

READ MORE: Nene denies all allegations levelled against him by EFF

Nene told the commision on Wednesday that meetings between himself and the Guptas had taken place at both the family’s Saxonwold residence, where he had tea, and at the offices of their business, Sahara computers.

He added that the meetings were mainly a “PR exercise” in which the family tried to sell themselves as good, clean citizens.

These admissions directly contradict his assertion in the eNCA interview, that can be found either in a shortened version included in Malema’s tweet above or in the original clip below around the 7:45 mark.

The inconsistency has led to some questioning Nene’s credibility on Twitter.

Despite his admission to having met with the Guptas, Nene today denied allegations levelled against him by the EFF.

He also questioned the timing of their campaign against him, coming as it did just days before his appearance before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday.

Nene said these allegations included that as deputy minister of finance Nene had facilitated the Guptas’ access to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and that during this period, between 2009 and 2014, he was approached by various individuals and companies seeking assistance in securing financing from the corporation.

READ MORE: Malema intensifies war against Nene, threatens to reveal ‘dark secrets’

“In all instances, these individuals and companies were informed that they should approach the PIC directly,” Nene told the commission.

Nene explained to the commission that during his tenure as deputy minister of finance he had served as the chair of the PIC as he was appointed by Cabinet as a non-executive director and chair of the board of the corporation. His role, however, excluded him from decision-making, except for specific transactions that would need the board’s approval.

Nene responded in the negative to a question of whether he recalled approving a transaction while chair of the PIC related to the Guptas or any Gupta-linked entity.

Additional reporting by Makhosandile Zulu

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.