Following an eventful Monday in which the estranged wife of former Home Affairs and Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, Norma Mngoma, it was time for the former Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane to take to the stand and give evidence before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, which has come to be known as the Zondo Commission. Zwane on Tuesday detailed his relationship with the Guptas and how he travelled with them in their private jet emphasizing, however, that he had not applied any undue pressure for Glencore to be sold to a Gupta owned company.
The former Mineral resources minister explained that he had travelled to Switzerland on business to meet with potential buyers of the Glencore Optimum Coal Mine, to a company called Tegeta, which is owned by none other than the Guptas. He reiterated that his intention in initiating the sale was to try and save about 3000 jobs from being lost. In giving evidence, Zwane stated that while he was in Switzerland, he developed a throat condition and because of that, he then asked for a lift from Tony Gupta when he learnt that they were travelling to India, which is where he was also headed.
When questioned by the commission chair, Zondo as to the relationship between the sore throat and not boarding a public aeroplane, he said that travelling with the Guptas meant that he would not have to struggle explaining himself at the airport. To this, the Deputy Chief Justice then quipped, “for me, if the purpose of the trip to India involves speaking to people, and you were sick, I don’t see why you would still proceed. Why insist on going there?” To this, Zwane did not provide a clear reply.
He, however, went on to say that he did proceed to India in the Guptas’ ‘lift’ and that he did proceed with the meetings with investors that had been scheduled for him. After the meetings, Zwane revealed that he underwent an operation in a public hospital to attend to the throat that had been giving him problems. After this was done, he got another lift in the private jet, this time en route to Dubai. When he arrived in Dubai, he finally got into the flight that had been booked for him to head home.