Minister booted by Zuma to testify at Zondo commission
Barbara Hogan is expected to detail events leading to the day Zuma drop-kicked her from his cabinet in 2010
Former Public Enterprises minister Barbara Hogan is lined up to testify at the state capture commission in the next few weeks as the evidence leaders seek to corroborate the events leading up to former president Jacob Zuma’s 2010 cabinet reshuffle.
Hogan was one of seven ministers removed during Zuma’s first of 11 cabinet reshuffles.Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor testified at the inquiry last week that Ajay Gupta told her that Hogan would be fired, and offered her the ministerial position on condition that she halt the SAA route to Mumbai.
Malusi Gigaba, now Home Affairs minister, replaced Hogan and the route was ceased.
Hogan is expected to give evidence at Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s inquiry about the events building up to the reshuffle and her knowledge of the reasons she was fired.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that former South African intelligence heads Gibson Njenje, Moe Shaik and Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka were concerned about the Guptas’ interference in the 2010 cabinet reshuffle.
Shaik said they were alarmed when they found out that people were being “summoned” by the Guptas in connection with the reshuffle. He said they were also disturbed when Zuma appointed people to the cabinet who were perceived to be close to the Guptas.The Sunday Times also reported that former Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda was fired after he resisted overtures by the Guptas to meet him. He initially met the brothers when they were brought to his office by Duduzane Zuma, the former president’s son, to introduce themselves as players in the communications industry.
He rebuffed further attempts by the Guptas to meet him.
He was replaced by Roy Padayachie, an ally of the Gupta family. Padayachie attended Diwali celebrations at the Gupta compound a few days after his appointment as Communications minister.
The SABC agreement to broadcast The New Age business breakfasts free of charge was signed during Padayachie’s tenure.
The ‘audacity’ of it
Njenje and Shaik said they investigated the Guptas after receiving a request from the US Central Intelligence Agency in 2009 concerning the Guptas’ interest in uranium mining.
Their investigation established that Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas, especially their interference in state affairs, was undermining national security.
“In 2010, they started flexing their muscle and their links with the president,” Njenje said. “They were talking to ministers, directors-general and senior officials. From a state security point of view, we were trying to find out why this audacity. They were making an open show that they have a relationship with the president.”
Njenje said they also learnt that the Guptas were in charge of arrangements during Zuma's state visits. This was particularly the case during the June 2010 state visit to India, and to China two months later.
Hogan was in the government delegation on the visit to India.
In 2010, the Guptas appeared to affirm their special status in South African society. It was reported that during the 2010 World Cup, the family and their guests were escorted around Johannesburg by the police VIP protection unit.Nyanda told the Sunday Times he was willing to testify at the state capture commission about how ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula made an emotional declaration during an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting that the Guptas had informed him about his appointment as Sports minister in October 2010.
Mbalula has since denied that this happened, but has been contacted by the commission’s investigators in this regard.
Nyanda said Zuma did not address Mbalula’s complaint even though “such a serious allegation” was presented to the party leadership.