The day-to-day functioning of the police VIP Protection Unit demands officers complete log books and diaries – a requirement that is legal. But to former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba, who allegedly prevented an officer reflecting visits to the Saxonwold Gupta compound, the legal procedure applied differently, his former driver yesterday told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The minister that is former bodyguard is now under a 24-hour police protection and is referred to as Witness 3.
Gigaba’s counsel, Richard Solomon, tore into his earlier testimony that:
On six visits to the Gupta family residence, Gigaba came out with money stashed in a bag.
The reason for log books and diaries not reflecting entries to the Gupta Saxonwold family home was due to Gigaba’s instruction.
Former Eskom chair Dr Ben Ngubane, former president Jacob Zuma and former Eskom executive Matshela Koko were among several high-profile figures who frequented the Gupta compound.
“In the absence of independent objective evidence, it is your word against the minister,” said Solomon. “You said that in one of these occasions, you drove Mr Gigaba alone. Would that not be a breach of security protocol?”
Replied Witness 3: “On the day in question, the minister said he wanted me to take him somewhere when I had knocked off. On the real way, he told me that we were going to the Gupta residence.”
Solomon: “Would that not have been a breach of protocol, because you were not authorised to drive Mr Gigaba?”
Witness 3: “I was given instructions by the minister himself.”
Solomon: “Mr Gigaba denies that you drove him anywhere – let alone to the Gupta residence.”
Witness 3: “I went to the Gupta residence about six to seven times.
“During that period, I saw former president Jacob Zuma, Mr Gigaba’s wife, Mr Matshela Koko and Dr Ben Ngubane – among others.”
Solomon: “Were these visits recorded in Mr Gigaba’s diary?” Witness 3: “I was asked not to register the visits to the Gupta family home on some occasions.”
Solomon: “In your affidavit you say not all of these visits were recorded in the minister’s diary.”
Witness 3: “By instructions of the minister, I did not record in the logbook the visits to the Gupta family as those were unofficial trips.”
Solomon: “We have no way of testing your version.
“It is your word against the minister.”
On the way he told me we were going to the Gupta residence
Former president Jacob Zuma finally met the ANC top brass – virtually – as he did not pitch up in person as expected.
According to an ANC source, who asked not to be named, Zuma could have been persuaded to agree to speak to the ANC top six via technology them face to face as he did not plan to talk to.
“Zuma did not come and if he did not talk to them at all, that would have embarrassed the leadership. Even if there were no results, at least he spoke to them,” the source said.
But the ANC yesterday said in a terse statement that the officials had met Zuma and had “very positive and constructive discussions”. The party did not elaborate.
The party’s top six – comprising ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, national chair Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general Ace Magashule, his deputy Jessie Duarte and treasurer-general Paul Mashatile – invited Zuma to explain his refusal to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The commission earlier recommended to the Constitutional Court that Zuma be jailed for two years for contempt of court after he refused to appear before it.
He had until yesterday to file answering affidavits to the Constitutional Court.
If he failed to do so, that would indicate further defiance of the courts.
Observers said if Zuma did not come, or even arranged a discussion that is virtual that would have been a show of contempt to the ANC itself.
Political analyst Prof Susan Booysen said whether the meeting with Zuma happened or not, the results would have been the same as the former president had shown no interest in appearing before Zondo.
“The lines are drawn in the sand. He is still bargaining on not going to the Zondo commission.
“I cannot imagine that Zuma could have thrown in the towel or taken any position different to the one he took over a decade ago. He is relishing going to prison and being a martyr,” Booysen said.
She said Zuma never had and will never have any intention of appearing before the commission.
A number of people have visited Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal in an attempt to persuade him to go to the commission, without success.
The leadership of uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association and Police Minister Bheki Cele among those were Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.
Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama visited Nkandla this weekend that is past.