Zondo commission not done grilling Malusi Gigaba
Share this article:
Johannesburg - Former Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba is not just yet done at the State Capture Commission as he is expected to answer more questions.
In Gigaba’s defence, his legal representatives on Wednesday said they had only received a new affidavit on Tuesday and needed more time to study it – a request that the commission’s Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo acceded to.
This comes as Gigaba appeared before the commission yet again on Wednesday.
This time, evidence leader Anton Myburgh asked Gigaba to confirm if he was the finance minister at the time the FICA signed on April 26, 2017.
Myburgh also asked Gigaba to confirm if, at that time, South Africa was under pressure from the financial action task force (FATF) international body for the FICA bill to commence.
Gigaba confirmed both statements.
He maintained that the bill was passed in 2017 by former president Jacob Zuma.
This, Gigaba said, was during his tenure as finance minister and that the bill in question was implemented in 2019 following pressure from FATF.
The bill, according to Gigaba, was intended to strengthen measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism‚ and in particular, was required to enhance vigilance over the financial transactions of prominent influential persons.
Gigaba’s testimony was in response to an affidavit submitted by the Treasury deputy Director-General, Ismail Momoniat who earlier said that Gigaba delayed the implementation because the amendment meant that local prominent influential people who conducted business with the state would be subjected to scrutiny by financial institutions.
Myburgh maintained that it could have been said that South Africa was in violation of its international commitments regarding its anti-money laundering legislation.
Gigaba responded by saying South Africa is a sovereign nation and it reserves every right to satisfy itself regarding legislation that is passed.
“There are many international bodies which South Africa belongs to, many of them, from time to time, apply pressure on issues some of which we would have agreed to. South Africa is not an exception in this regard that countries would still want to exercise their sovereign right not to pass any legislation or law or policy without scrutinising it, ensuring laws of that country,” Gigaba said.
He added: “There was nothing peculiar here, it would be a sad day if we would arrive at the conclusion that international bodies can simply force upon us any policy that we must sign without satisfying ourselves ...”
Myburgh asked Gigaba if he was a member of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) cluster in 2016, to which Gigaba replied: “I was the member of JCPS, but it does not consist of the Home Affairs minister alone or Malusi Gigaba, that is why the submission by Mr Momoniat, who was a deputy director-general at National Treasury, is not only malicious, it's disingenuous in that if the JCPS cluster was concerned about certain aspects of the legislation of the FICA Amendment Bill, it was not me as an individual and it was not the Department of Home Affairs that was concerned.”
Myburgh asked Gigaba if he had heard evidence by researcher Paul Holden yesterday, which Gigaba said he had not.
Myburgh told Gigaba the evidence presented showed that the extent of the looting by the Guptas was quite mind-boggling, to which Gigaba replied: “Yes”.
Myburgh said the cost to the state had increased from R49 billion to R57 billion, adding the Gupta family had been engaged in coordinated projects and had looted the state.
“Would you agree to that?” he asked Gigaba.
The former minister replied: “I am not sure whether I’m able to agree with it, I also don't want to dispute anything. I presume that the evidence leader is making statements.”
Myburgh said subsequent looting happened under Gigaba’s tenure as Public Enterprises Minister in relation to state-owned entities, particularly Transnet.
“It’s been alleged that evidence has been presented, surely that does not mean I was involved. I have stated that nothing that has been presented here places me anywhere near the money. I haven't seen the money, I have not taken the money, I did not deliver the money anywhere, I have not been part of the contracts to the extent that it happened during my tenure it would be purely coincidence,” said Gigaba.
Myburgh said the Guptas could not have been able to pull off the looting project of this sophistication without Gigaba being on-site.
“Let us establish the principle here, that if I am asked a question, I am not in court. I can respond to a question as I can. I have not been told that there is a prescribed way of responding, that is not true,” said Gigaba.
Zondo jumped in, saying that Myburgh did not say that either, all he was saying was that he is still to come to a proposition he was saying to you.
“In what way was I involved?” asked Gigaba.