Former CEO of Eskom Brian Molefe has told the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg that he visited the Gupta residence in upmarket Saxonworld numerous times when was still then CEO of Transnet.
Molefe says he lost count of how many times he visited them. He claims his visits were mainly to attend Gupta family functions and attend what he calls “meetings”.
The Guptas have been repeatedly implicated in state capture at the Commission.
Appearing for the third time at the Commission, Molefe has told the Commission he had a lot of interactions with the Gupta brothers during his time at both Eskom and Transnet.
“They would have Diwali, whenever they would invite me. Sometimes, I would go. Sometimes I would not go.”
The lawyer asked, “So, whenever they would have functions they would invite you?
Molefe responded, “Yes, yes.”
“And you said you would attend private meetings. What kind of private meetings?”
Molefe explains that his claim there was a shabeen at Saxonworld was taken out of context by the media. “Talk about the bank; talk about developments in the banking sector. The person that had agreed to help us establish the bank; talk about different things, mainly relating to the fact that we had been trying to establish a bank.”
Molefe has told the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg that his claims that there was a Shebeen in upmarket Saxonwold were not meant to be taken literally. Molefe says he used the purported shebeen as an example to show that then Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s report on the Guptas was full of inaccuracies regarding his cellphone call logs.
Molefe says the call logs merely show he was in the Saxonwold area and do not show he was necessarily meeting the Guptas at the time.
Molefe says another executive had actually commented that there was a shebeen in that area.
“Mr Chosa says that’s ridiculous because that area there is a Shebeen and if she had asked me, she would have seen that I always go to a Shebeen. So, I said sure, Chosa really and he said, yes. And then later on in the afternoon when I was talking about the results announcement, I said Chosa here says there is a Shebeen there. I had said what Chosa had said in the morning. I did not say there was a shebeen. And yet despite all that the media went on and on and on and on.”
The Commission hears Transnet-related evidence from Brian Molefe:
Molefe says he did not feel betrayed by the Guptas but by the Public Protector under the leadership of then Thuli Madonsela. Part of the problem he said was that the public protector counted all phone calls from the Guptas as evidence despite some of the calls being unanswered.
Molefe admits to the Commission’s Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he had no regrets knowing the Gupta brothers. He says he was not surprised nor concerned when he heard that Salim Essa had mentioned he would be appointed CEO of Eskom in 2014 before it had happened, adding that rumours about him are spread all the time.
“Mr. Bester heard it from someone. He was having dinner with, it was here say. He heard it there while they were having dinner in my absence. Secondly, the person he is talking about, I have never met. Why would something that was said by somebody that I don’t know, worry me? Why would it worry me? And that fact that it eventually happened, I know how it happened. I know I was approached by the Minister, not Mr Essa.”