Johannesburg — A witness has told the state capture inquiry he did not know whether former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba informed ex-president Jacob Zuma about the reinstatement of axed Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama.
Gigaba’s former special adviser Siyabonga Mahlangu, on Friday told the Zondo commission that despite having told his former boss to inform Zuma about Gama’s reinstatement, he did not know if he did.
He said he advised Gigaba to appraise the president about the impending settlement with Gama, and that the ANC would also have to have its say on his reinstatement.
“The politicisation of this matter was not lost on me,” Mahlangu said.
According to Mahlangu, Zuma had to be informed about Gama’s return informally or formally, after he was dismissed from Transnet Freight Rail.
“It was in the public interest to inform Zuma,” he insisted.
Mahlangu said Gigaba was not instructed by Zuma to reinstate Gama.
He recalled asking Gigaba to brief the president as the matter would soon be made public.
“When this thing backfires, you must have the president’s backing,” he remembered advising Gigaba.
Mahlangu added Gigaba needed the backing of the president to reinstate Gama.
Gigaba claimed that he knew nothing about this in his statement to the commission.
Mahlangu also admitted that he was invited to the infamous Gupta wedding in May 2013, and that the controversial family paid for his trip and stay at Sun City.
However, he maintained there was no discussion between the Guptas and himself about Gama.
“They were not infamous (at the time),” Mahlangu said.