Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
27 Aug 2020
1:04 pm

Witnesses back Rajesh Sundaram’s evidence against Zuma in ANN7 saga

Molefe Seeletsa

Sundaram last year told the commission that he was present at three meetings at the official presidential residence where Atul and Ajay Gupta met with Zuma.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture Neil McCartney

With advocate Mpho Rasivhethele leading the evidence, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture heard evidence about former president Jacob Zuma’s alleged role in broadcast channel ANN7.

The evidence related to aspects of former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram testimony. Sundaram was recruited by the Gupta family to assist in setting up the broadcast channel.

In 2019, Sundaram told the commission that he was present at three meetings at Mahlamba Ndlopfu, which is the official presidential residence, where Atul and Ajay Gupta met with Zuma.

ALSO READ: SABC sold 100 hours of footage to ANN7 at ‘throwaway prices’, commission hears

The commission heard ANN7-related evidence from three witnesses on Thursday, 27 August, including Mahlamba Ndlopfu former household manager, Ramaru Mekgwe, the current manager, Jacques Human, and former SABC journalist Gillian Pillay.

Being the first witness of the day, Mekgwe told the commission that his responsibilities at Mahlamba Ndlopfu included day-to-day running and overall management of operations at the residence.

The former manager described the meeting room at the residence in regards to Sundaram’s submission, however, he said that the room was no longer the same as it was in 2013.

He further confirmed that he had seen some of the Gupta family members visiting the residence, as he had access to the visitors’ area to see who came and left.

“I am not really sure how regularly the Guptas visited at Mahlamba Ndlopfu since there is no record of guests coming and going,” he said.

In his short-timed testimony, Human also gave a description of the two meeting rooms… verifying a statement made by Sundaram in the process.

READ MORE: Zuma’s secret role in establishing ANN7 laid bare at state capture inquiry

Meanwhile, Pillay, who worked at the SABC for 17 years, revealed that she had covered a Women’s Day event that was held in Mpumalanga in August 2013, at which Zuma was present at the time.

This is in connection to an alleged meeting before that event and Zuma detailed he would address certain things in his speech.

“There were lots of activities there and there was going to be a speech of the former president Jacob Zuma,” she said.

The commission was adjourned for the day and will continue on Friday, 28 August.

Watch the full proceedings below:

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