News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
5 Apr 2019
2:06 pm

Guptas offered former Free State MEC R2m, Zondo commission hears

Makhosandile Zulu

Mxolisi Dukwana says the offer was made for him to sign on a contract appointing a Gupta-linked entity for a project.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana testifying at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Tony Gupta offered the former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana a sweetener of R2 million on the spot and on a monthly basis for an estimated 10 years if he signed off on a contract appointing a Gupta-linked company.

This was revealed on Friday at the commission of inquiry into state capture by Dukwana, who is giving evidence against former Free State premier Ace Magashule and the Guptas.

ALSO READ: Zondo to hear new evidence against Ace, Guptas

Dukwana told the commission that the offer was made to him during a visit to the Guptas’ compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, in 2012.

In the run-up to the ANC Free State elective conference of that year, when Dukwana served as the party’s provincial Treasurer tasked with raising funds for the convention, Magashule contacted the former MEC to inform him that he, Magashule, had arranged a fundraising dinner in Sandton, Johannesburg which they should attend.

Upon agreeing to take the trip to Johannesburg, Magashule told Dukwana not to worry about making travel arrangments, assuring the former MEC that the former premier’s office would organise, the commission heard.

The pair flew via SA Express to Johannesburg and at OR Tambo International Airport they were met by “white guys” and not the VIP security protection Dukwana expected because Magashule was premier, he said.

Dukwana and Magashule were then driven to Saxonwold, without the former’s knowledge because he expected the destination to be Sandton, the former MEC said.

Dukwana said he recognised the Gupta compound as they approached it, as the building had been on the news at the time.

After entering the gates of the compound, Dukwana and Magashule were welcomed by Tony Gupta and as the trio walked up the flight of stairs, Tony politely asked the former MEC to hand over his cellphone, however, the same was not asked of the former premier, he said.

Dukwana told the commission that he had no reason to ask Magashule why they had paid a visit to the Gupta compound because by that time he, Dukwana, was aware that the former premier was working with the Guptas.

ALSO READ: Magashule’s political ties are why his son would do business with Guptas – Dukwana

Inside the house, Dukwana was directed into a room and after he was offered a drink, Magashule and Gupta disappeared into a separate room, the former MEC said.

Later, about 15 minutes, Magashule and Gupta returned with other people, including former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, the commission heard.

“It then dawned on me at that time that there was going to be a meeting and then I looked at Magashule straight in the eyes but he was looking down,” Dukwana said.

Gupta did not waste time and shot straight to the point, Dukwana said, he introduced himself but did not introduce the others and said the reason Dukwana had been called to Saxonwold was simple because he, Gupta, was “a businessman, all I know is business”, at that pointing referring to Dukwana as a “brother” well-versed in political matters.

Gupta then gave Dukwana a letter which he wanted the former MEC to sign. The letter had a letterhead from Dukwana’s office, which was a concern for the former MEC because he could not recall someone requesting a letterhead from him for it.

The letter was some sort of appointment letter which detailed the ICT and City of Tomorrow projects in the Free State, which appointed an entity.

The letter was purported to have been written by Dukwana, however, his surname on the letter was spelt Dukoana, which is the spelling on his ID document.

This indicated to the former MEC that someone privy to the difference in the spelling of his surname would have told them to used Dukoana, which could have been Magashule, who remained face down.

Gupta then said a discussion had been held with Magashule that he would be excluded from the deal Dukwana was meant to sign on at that moment and that it would only be the former MEC and Gupta involved in the project.

Dukwana said he refused to sign the letter, stating that the department’s HOD should sign it.

When it became clear that Dukwana was reluctant to sign the letter, Gupta added a sweetener of R2 million on the spot after signing the letter and R2 million monthly for the duration of the project, an estimated 10 years, the commission heard.

Gupta referred to Magashule as “brother Ace” and told Dukwana that he was a trustworthy person, adding that he, Gupta, drove to Magashule’s residence to hand him over “his million” and did the same for the young Zuma, both of whom agreed.

Watch the proceedings live:

ALSO READ: Magashule’s travel records as premier can’t be trusted, Zondo hears

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