The inquiry into State Capture begins on Monday and is expected to look into the Gupta family’s rise to the pinnacle of the country’s financial and political echelons.
The family arrived in South Africa just over two decades ago.
Judge Raymond Zondo and his team is looking into the influence the Gupta family had over former president Jacob Zuma’s administration.
The commission is expected to make recommendations on 11 allegations that former public protector Thuli Madonsela noted in her 2016 report into state capture — including whether former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor were offered cabinet positions by the Gupta family. Both Mentor and Jonas are expected to testify at the first round of hearings.
The former deputy minister of finance alleged that in October 2015, the Gupta family offered him a promotion and a bribe of R600-million — two months before then-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was removed from office.
According to Jonas, he declined the offers. Ajay Gupta, the family’s patriarch, has denied the claim that he offered Jonas the promotion and the money.
Jonas’s tenure in the treasury ended in 2017 when he was sacked by then president Jacob Zuma.
Vytjie Mentor, The former ANC MP alleged she had been offered a cabinet post, the position of minister of public enterprises, by the Gupta family.
At the time she was allegedly offered the position, Barbara Hogan was minister of public enterprises.
According to the public protector’s state capture report, the offer was in exchange for cancelling the South African Airways route to India. The decision was allegedly to see India-based Jet Airways and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways benefit.
Mentor also claimed that Zuma had been present when the offer was made, albeit in another room of the Gupta’s Saxonwold compound.
Mentor was appointed as chairperson of the public enterprise committee in May 2009 after she was replaced as chairperson of the ANC caucus. However, she was fired from the position following an investigation regarding a payment of R155 000 Transnet made for Mentor to accompany Zuma on a state trip to China.
The Zonda-led commission says there are other witnesses the legal team is in the process of identifying or consulting, but didn’t mention names.
However former president Zuma has been invited by the commission to answer in person to allegations that he directly facilitated favours for the Guptas to help the family get government business.