Former Gupta driver spills the beans on car

2011-03-12 21:38

Atul Gupta’s former driver, John Maseko, told City Press that

Tshepiso Magashule left his Volkswagen Polo at the Gupta family’s Johannesburg

mansion when he collected a BMW Z4 belonging to the family in November last

year.

But Gupta slammed Maseko this week, questioning his motive for

speaking to City Press. “John absconded after he accidented (sic) two cars, a

(Audi) Q7 and an (BMW) X5. He caused R300 000 to R400 000 damage.”

Maseko confirmed he was involved in a bumper-to-bumper accident

with the Guptas’ cars in January, but claims it was not his fault. He quit in

February because “Atul and I did not get along any more”.

According to Maseko, Tshepiso Magashule fetched the BMW Z4 in

November and he returned to the Gupta compound in January to fetch his silver

Polo.

“He came back to fetch his car some time in January. But he took

both cars,” said Maseko. This is disputed by Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s spokesperson Wisani Ngobeni, who told City Press Magashule jnr “borrowed” the Gupta car for a few days because he had problems with his own car. “The car has now been returned and he is driving his own car,” he added.

Ngobeni said there was nothing improper about the premier’s son

using the car as he was in the employ of Mabengela Investments, which is owned

by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the youngest Gupta brother,

Tony.

Mabengela shares an office with the Guptas’ Sahara Computers in

Midrand.

“As an employee, Tshepiso from time to time uses company cars for

work purposes. His work is related to his qualifications,” Ngobeni said.

Tshepiso Magashule holds a ­national diploma in logistics

management from the Vaal ­University of Technology.

According to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration

Office (Cipro), Tshepiso is a director of four companies and a member in six closed corporations. Ngobeni hit out at City Press, saying the newspaper was invading Tshepiso’s privacy for enquiring about his use of the Guptas’ car. “Although Tshepiso Magashule is the son of the premier of the Free State, his right to privacy must be protected.

“We believe that enquiries of this nature by journalists may amount

to violation of the privacy of Tshepiso Magashule and are ­devoid of ethical

journalism,” he charged.

Maseko said he once saw Ace Magashule, in a silver Mercedes Benz,

visit the Guptas for the ­Diwali festival in October last year. Ngobeni

confirmed the visit.

Asked about the family’s relationship with Magashule in an

interview last week, Ajay Gupta said he, former minister Essop Pahad (a Sahara

director) and a team from the family’s The New Age newspaper met Magashule in

Bloemfontein for a “presentation”.

The Free State government has been one of the main advertisers in The New Age. On Monday, after Magashule delivered his state of the province address, The New Age published a four-page supplement on the speech, written by reporters from the newspaper.Ngobeni said the province advertises in many newspapers, including City Press. » The Western Cape premier and leader of the DA, Helen Zille, this week refused to confirm or deny that she visited the Guptas in October last year.

City Press was reliably told that Zille entered the Guptas’compound with her driver and went into the family house alone. Her spokesperson Priya Reddy said it was party policy not to ­disclose the identity of donors.

- Cedric Mboyisa

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