Hogan, Gordhan know a lot of Gupta dirt. Now they're dishing it
Former and present public enterprise ministers to testify on pressure to make state-capture deals
The commission of inquiry into state capture will this week hear testimony from former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan and the ministry’s present incumbent, Pravin Gordhan.
Both Hogan and Gordhan were expected to appear before the commission last month, but deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo’s legal team brought an application to postpone proceedings.
Advocate Thandi Norman told the commission at the time that those implicated in Hogan’s affidavit had not been given sufficient time to respond and that the legal team was only in possession of a draft statement from Gordhan.
Hogan, who served as public enterprises minister between 2009 and 2010, will attest to the pressure she endured by members of the controversial Gupta family and their business associates to scrap a lucrative flight route between Johannesburg and Mumbai, which at the time was dominated by South African Airways.
Her testimony is also expected to describe the working relationship between herself and former president Jacob Zuma.
In 2016, the wife of deceased struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada was interviewed by then public protector Thuli Madonsela. Her statement formed an integral part of Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
In the interview, Hogan said Zuma and then-ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe “took interest” in her mandate to make appointments on the boards of various state-owned entities such as Eskom, Transnet and Denel.
She also described a state visit to India in 2010, where she noticed members of the Gupta family had allegedly “taken over control of the proceedings and were appearing to be directing the programme”.
Last week, Zondo released a press statement saying there would be an investigation into leaked witness statements. This came after Gordhan’s affidavit was leaked to the media.
In his affidavit, Gordhan said he was first introduced to the Gupta family by Zuma. He admitted to meeting Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani in 2010, while he was serving as finance minister, at the behest of one of the Gupta brothers and thereafter only ever encountered the family at public events.
He also estimated Zuma’s surprise removal of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in 2015 cost the economy about R500bn.
Gordhan is also expected to reveal details surrounding Zuma’s trillion-rand nuclear procurement campaign as well as pressure he endured from the former president to push through a number of deals, including a joint venture between Denel and Gupta-linked entity VR Laser.
The EFF has since submitted a complaint to public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, asking that her office investigate a violation of the executive ethics code by Gordhan.
The party alleges Gordhan lied and deliberately did not disclose the meeting held with Ambani when responding to questions in parliament. Hogan is expected to testify on Monday and Gordhan on Thursday.