- Deputy President David Mabuza has denied claims that the Gupta family ‘bought’ him by paying for his private flight to Russia
- The Guptas paid for Mabuza to travel to Russia to receive medical treatment
- Mabuza maintained he could not have been bought by what was in effect ‘a lift to the doctor’s office’
Deputy President David Mabuza has shrugged suggestions that the Gupta family bought him because they paid for him to fly to Russia on a private jet to receive medical treatment. A confident Mabuza said he could not be bought by what amounted to receiving ‘a lift to the doctor’s office’.
Mabuza faced pointed questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) about his own relationship with the Guptas and was asked if he felt he owed the family a debt after they flew him to Russia. He said he did not feel beholden to the Guptas at all.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi tried to unsettle Mabuza when she reminded then National Assembly that Mabuza was the premier of Mpumalanga at the time when Gupta-owned or linked businesses scored major mining rights in the province.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Mabuza looked relaxed and calm when he gave his reply. He said provincial governments had very little influence over which companies received mining rights and he himself would have been unable to make a significant impact in those cases.
“Provinces do not issue mining licences. The investigation we are talking about that looks into state capture will determine what went wrong,” he said.
MPs wanted to know the government planned on ensuring justice prevailed under the new administration, after an era of rampant looting and state capture under former president Jacob Zuma.
ACDP MP Steve Swart asked Mabuza whether he, as the leader of government business, had taken any steps since the end of February to improve the lack of accountability and enforcement of sanctions against board directors and management of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
"The inquiry into state capture will commence its work soon. Confidence in public institutions must be restored and those guilty of wrongdoing must be identified,” Mabuza replied.
He added that SOE’s would embark on recovering looted funds and would probe contracts to establish instances of maladministration.
DA MP Natasha Mazzone gave voice to the frustration felt by Parliament in its struggle to summon witnesses which would allow it to get to the bottom of state capture allegations. She asked Mabuza if the government would consider issuing an interdict citation.
Mabuza replied: “There is confusion about my role as leader of government business. I am the leader of government business insofar as the executive’s interactions with entities and insofar as the executive interacts with Parliament. There will be no person that escapes our law.”
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