Mabuza on Guptas: If they have done something wrong, they will be brought to book

David Mabuza dismissed any insinuation he is indebted to the Guptas, saying that it was a matter of them being a good Samaritans to him (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

David Mabuza dismissed any insinuation he is indebted to the Guptas, saying that it was a matter of them being a good Samaritans to him (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Deputy president David Mabuza has dismissed suggestions from MPs he is too close to the Gupta family, instead claiming the politically connected family will face justice if they are found guilty of the allegations levelled against them.

Mabuza was answering questions from MPs in the National Assembly on Wednesday when the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi shared an anecdote about Mabuza’s own relationship with the controversial family.

Mkhaliphi mentioned how the Guptas had paid for Mabuza’s flight to Russia in 2016 and asked what the deputy president planned to do about the family’s evasion of law enforcement thus far.

Mabuza responded: “It’s not the deputy president that must go after people and arrest them. We’ve got people that will look at the veracity of the cases that are before them.”

“The investigations that we are talking about that are looking into the state capture and all the wrongdoing in these companies of government would determine exactly what went wrong,” Mabuza continued.

The Russia trip took place when Mabuza was still Mpumalanga premier. At the time, reports emerged he had jetted to Russia on a private plane owned by the Gupta family.

At the time, Mabuza’s spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango confirmed the reports: “We can confirm that the premier travelled to Moscow to seek medical treatment for poisoning.”“The premier was gravely ill and was not in a position to easily walk or carry himself on to a national airline, hence he accepted the offer from Duduzani [Zuma], which could have possibly been lifesaving.”

In answering the questions put before him in Parliament, Mabuza dismissed any insinuation he is indebted to the Guptas, saying that it was a matter of them being a good Samaritans to him.

“I used to say this that if you come across an accident and if you find people trapped in a car and you just passing, your duty as a citizen is to help those people; take them to hospital. And these people they don’t owe you anything for taking them to hospital. You’re just helping them as a citizen,” he told MPs.

“Rest assured, whether I’ve been given a lift to hospital does not mean the Guptas if they’ve done something wrong they should not be brought to book. They will. If they’ve done something wrong, they will.”

In response to Mabuza, another MP then rose to her feet and said if he is a good citizen then “you must give us the address” for where the Guptas currently are.

The Democratic Alliance’s Natasha Mazzone, who sits on the public enterprises committee, said a summons had been issued to Dudu Myeni to appear before the committee’s state capture inquiry to no avail.

Mazzone also said Zuma and the Gupta brothers’ addresses were not known, making it difficult to issue a summons on them. To this, Mabuza responded that responsibility ultimately rests with law enforcement to find them. 

“There are no people that will escape our law,” he said.

“We have got institutions that will pursue these individuals and find them. With those countries, wherever they are, there should be a way of sensitising those countries that these people have got certain things to answer in South Africa and there must be a way of getting them back to answer,” he continued.

Mabuza is appearing at his second question and answer session in the House where he is expected to address unemployment and investor confidence in South Africa. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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