Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has denied that his travels to Dubai, a city the Gupta brothers have frequented, included any dealings with the family at the centre of state capture allegations.
During a heated exchange with Economic Freedom Fighters MP Floyd Shivambu, Gigaba was forced to answer difficult questions pertaining to his relationship with the family. Shivambu asked how often Gigaba had visited Dubai, but the minister said he could not recall the number of times he has travelled to the city.
“I can confirm to you it had nothing to do with the Guptas,” he said.
“I have never been invited to Dubai and hosted by them, it was either for business, once for personal business, that’s it.”
The family owns a palatial home in the city’s Emirates’ Hills which is estimated to cost R445-million.
Shivambu also pressed Gigaba about his visits to the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, but the minister said that the visits were social and not for businesses purposes, and were therefore not recorded in his diary.
“It is not in my diary, therefore I cannot go back to my diary to recall it,” he said.”I meet a lot of people, around the country for a variety of reasons. When it comes to social events I do not make the effort to calculate and record them,” he continued.
Gigaba was appearing before Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at parastatals, where he testified under oath that he was not responsible for the appointments of Gupta foot soldiers to the boards of Transnet, Denel and Eskom.
In his tense exchange with Shivambu, Gigaba maintained he was not involved in tender processes and that ministers cannot be involved in tender bids because it is against the law. Shivambu challenged Gigaba’s reading of the law, but the minister responded that the EFF MP was attempting to push a political agenda.
Gigaba also denied holding any bank accounts in Dubai.
“I do not have an account in Dubai. I never have and I never will. I only have one account, it’s with FNB, honorable member,” he said.
He has been accused of appointing Gupta associates to public entities’ boards during his tenure as public enterprises minister from 2010 to 2014. Gigaba has denied the allegations, saying he wasn’t aware that certain candidates – such as Anoj Singh and Iqbal Sharma – were linked to the family.