The commission of inquiry into state capture is set to continue on Wednesday, with former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan expected to take the witness stand.
Hogan’s name was first raised during former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor’s testimony before the commission — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — in August.
In her statement, Mentor alleged that in 2010 she was invited to a clandestine meeting at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, where she was offered the job of public enterprises minister by Gupta patriarch, Ajay. Hogan was the minister at the time.
Mentor first revealed the alleged Gupta bribe in a Facebook post in March 2016.She wrote: “But they had previously asked me to become Minister of Public Enterprises when Barbara Hogan got the chop, provided that I would drop the SAA flight-route to India and give to them. I refused and so I was never made a Minister. The President was in another room when they offered me this in Saxonworld [sic].”
Former president Jacob Zuma replaced Hogan with Malusi Gigaba in October 2010. Gigaba has since fielded allegations of ties to the Gupta family — and of abetting their capture of the state — during his tenure at the helms of public enterprises, treasury and home affairs.
Hogan is among the high-profile witnesses scheduled to appear before the commission this month. Last week, former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene delivered explosive testimony and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan is expected to take the stand on Friday.
Nene, Hogan and Gordhan are all alleged casualties of Gupta influence over Zuma’s Cabinet. But this week Nene became the first major casualty of the Zondo commission.
Nene’s testimony mostly detailed how he encountered pressure by Zuma and members of his Cabinet to approve a controversial arms deal during first tenure as finance minister. His refusal to do so allegedly led to his firing in December 2015.
Nene’s admission before the inquiry that he had met the Gupta family at both their Saxonwold compound and the family-owned Sahara Computers headquarters in Midrand between 2010 and 2014, ultimately led to his resignation as finance minister this week.
He had in April 2016 denied ever meeting the Guptas in a TV interview with eNCA.
Nene issued an apology on Friday in response to the revelation. By Monday, it was reported that Nene had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties.
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa confirmed that he had received Nene’s letter of resignation and had accepted it.
During the announcement that Nene would be replaced by former governor of the South African Reserve Bank Tito Mboweni, Ramaphosa raised the importance of the work done by the Zondo commission.
“No person should be above the law,” Ramaphosa said, adding that all allegations of state capture warrant thorough investigation.