AS IT HAPPENED | Zuma 'cannot recall' conversation with Maseko over Gupta requests for GCIS ad spend

2019-07-15 08:48

Former president Jacob Zuma appeared at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday.

WATCH LIVE: State Capture Inquiry 

Jacob Zuma is seen inside the Pietermaritzburg Hig

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Last Updated at 12:47
15 Jul 15:57

Zuma's supporters outside the commission are waiting for him to appear. 

15 Jul 15:50

Zuma wants an adjournment. Zondo suggests we should stop now and adjourn until tomorrow. 

The commission adjourns until 10am tomorrow.

15 Jul 15:47

Pretorius asks whether it would have been improper if Maseko had agreed to give the whole R600 million budget to the Guptas.

"I'm sure. I'm sure... I don't want to enter that discussion because I don't know what was intended... I'm sure Gupta can explain better..."

15 Jul 15:45
Meanwhile, outside the commission: 

15 Jul 15:42

Pretorius is asked to comment on Maseko's point. 

Zuma laughs, "I don't want to comment on that one. He (Gupta) was making his own point, taking his own chance."

15 Jul 15:41

The "essence" of what Maseko was told by Ajay Gupta, says Pretorius, was that the Guptas wanted the whole R600 million budget to be used by the Guptas TV and newspaper offerings. 

Zuma says he has no knowledge of this. 

15 Jul 15:38

Pretorius says Maseko says the call from Zuma happened on the same day as the day he met with the Guptas. He infers that Zuma would have known that the meeting with the Guptas was going to take place. 

Zuma says he did not know. 

"But as I know, there were meetings generally to discuss this thing and at some point they would have talked to him (Maseko)." 

15 Jul 15:36

Zuma is asking whether this call would be improper, if he had made it. 

He says it is not unusual for him to "help facilitate" meetings between DGs and other people. 

15 Jul 15:35

Hypothetically, Pretorius asks, if Zuma had made such a call, would Maseko have had to comply? 

Zuma says no, the directors general "do what they think is right" no matter who the instruction comes from. 

But he adds:

"If such a call is made, would that call have moved away from the normal procedures? Would it be compelling the DG to do a wrong thing?" 

15 Jul 15:31

Pretorius wants to point out a discrepancy in how Maseko phrased this incident to the public protector. This is because Zuma says he would not the particularly word used by Maseko, 'Mfokababa'"

Sikhakhane (for Zuma) interjects. 

He says this is not fair. Zuma has not had a chance to see the documents. 

Pretorius says he was trying to be fair to Zuma. But the words can be given to Zuma to consider in his own time. 

"But nothing turns on it. We are dealing with the meaning and import of the communication."

15 Jul 15:28

Zondo clarifies: "Is the position that it might have happened but you can't recall?" 

Zuma: "Absolutely."

15 Jul 15:27

Pretorius points Zuma to a phone call. Zuma allegedly told Maseko directly that he needed to meet with the Guptas. 

Zuma says he is not sure, or doesn't remember. 

"I normally called the DGs to discuss a number of issues. I can't remember making this call.

But the issue of this new paper of the owners wanting to talk to the departments - but more importantly the department of Maseko - it is natural that they would want to talk to him. So there is nothing out of the ordinary, whether there was a call or no call. But I don't remember making the call, because I made a number of calls." 

15 Jul 15:23

Pretorius: Maseko says that in October 2010 he received a call from Ajay Gupta, in which the brother says he was launching a media publication which needed government support. 

Maseko said he was reluctant to accede to this request, but he ultimately did. 

Pretorius asks Zuma if he had anything to do with arranging this phone call. 

"No, I didn't," Zuma says.

15 Jul 15:19

Pretorius: I understand that the GCIS had a responsibility for media buying - when government departments wanted to place adverts in media, that was done through GCIS? 

Zuma confirms. 

Pretorius: So GCIS was responsible for placing advertisements in the media although the ads were paid for by various departments? 

Zuma says yes. 

He also confirms that the GCIS managed a budget of about R600 million.

15 Jul 15:17

Pretorius takes Zuma to Themba Maseko's statement, where he deals with his role as former head of government communications (GCIS). 

That department resides with in the presidency, Zuma confirms. 

15 Jul 15:16

As the chair of the inquiry, former secretary general Gwede Mantashe surely reported to you (Zuma), Pretorius says.

Zuma can't remember.

Surely it would have been in writing? Pretorius asks if we will be able to see it.

Zuma: I don't know. 

15 Jul 15:15

Pretorius asks Zuma whether he knows the outcome of the ANC's internal inquiry into state capture. 

He cannot remember, he says.

15 Jul 15:14

COMMENT: Want an early taste of Zuma's testimony? His answers to the first three questions asked by evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius: "I'm not sure...I can't say...I don't recall..." This is going to be a long slog to get anything of substance out of the former president.

- Pieter du Toit

15 Jul 15:13

Pretorius asks if any of the persons who wrote the letter are part of the so-called plot to get rid of Zuma. 

In a roundabout way, Zuma says he did not say so.

15 Jul 15:11

More from the DG's letter, sent to Gordhan in May 2016: 

As former DG’s we are concerned about reports that public officials, including heads of state owned entities, are being pressurised by private interests to wilfully break procurement rules and the rules pertaining to transparent, fair and competency-based appointments.

In particular, we express concern at recent revelations of alleged  ‘state capture’ by the Gupta family, their apparent influence over political and administrative appointments, and their alleged involvement in the irregular facilitation, securing and issuing of government tenders and contracts.

A number of alleged corrupt practices that have been brought to the public’s attention that are tantamount to breaking laws such as the Constitution, PFMA, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework and public service regulations.

These developments have the potential to undermine our democratic state, have compromised the state’s ability to accelerate service delivery, are breeding a culture of corruption, compromise the culture of service delivery and the ethos of ‘Batho Pele’.

Further, we express our concern at the effect of the recent Constitutional Court judgement on the Nkandla matter, and its effect on our government’s ability to focus resources and efforts on delivering services to our people, growing the economy and achieving our transformation and developmental goals.

15 Jul 15:10

The DGs wanted an independent inquiry into state capture. 

Zuma is asked if he remembers the document. He cannot recall, he says, as he "receives so many documents". 

15 Jul 15:08

The directors general wrote: 

A group of former Directors General (DGs) felt compelled to address the recent developments that are having a negative impact on the capacity of the state to provide quality services and eroding public confidence in public institutions.We had the rare honour in history to not only work administratively to dismantle apartheid but also in crafting a new legal framework, passed by our parliament and entrenched in our constitutional framework.

Through these measures, democratic institutions were established.Our initiative to speak as former Accounting Officers today is driven by our shared commitment to our constitutional democracy. This is not a party-political initiative and we don’t consider the matters we are raising to be party political in nature.As former Directors General (DG’s), we brought a collective commitment to serve and dismantle the apartheid state machinery and replaced it with democratic institutions that were informed by democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights and a deep desire to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

15 Jul 15:07

The document Pretorius is talking about: 

15 Jul 15:06
Pretorius is now taking Zuma through a letter form 27 former directors general, handed to former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, raising concerns about state capture. Zuma was copied in on the letter. 

15 Jul 15:05

15 Jul 15:04
Zuma will now respond to issues arising from former GCIS head, Themba Maseko's testimony. 

15 Jul 15:01

Meanwhile, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation has refuted claims made by a Zuma supporter, that the Guptas were introduced to Zuma by Mbeki. 

The full statement reads: 

In the last three weeks, we have noted news reports attributable to various persons claiming some link between former President Thabo Mbeki and the Gupta family. We have agonised about this matter, avoiding to respond and thus descend to the lower depths to which the allegation desperately attaches.

Our honest and sustained attempt to avoid the gutter were nonetheless severely tested and strained by an ENCA news report which featured one Mr. Mpho Masemola, a representative of the ExPolitical Prisoners Association, yesterday. Mr. Masemola takes the public into confidence about discussions between the Ex-Political Prisoners Association and President Jacob Zuma last week. He deploys innuendo in order to socialise accountability for an individual’s ethical judgement.

For the record, President Thabo Mbeki did not at any point introduce the Gupta family to President Zuma. Even if it were true that President Mbeki had introduced the Gupta family to President Zuma, unless it is alleged and proven that he did so with an improper motive, he would not be held responsible for whatever may or may not have transpired thereafter between President Zuma and the Gupta family.

For Mr. Masemola to suggest otherwise is in fact to accuse President Zuma of lacking the capacity to make his own ethical judgements.We have also noted reports which claim that a member of the Gupta family served as an economic advisor to President Mbeki. 

This too is false! No member of the Gupta family ever served in any economic advisory body during the time when President Mbeki served as Head of State. It is nevertheless true that Ajay Gupta‚ served on the International Marketing Council board (now Brand SA). Mr. Ajay Gupta joined the board of the then IMC by agreement of the board on the recommendation of then Minister in The Presidency, Essop Pahad, who rightly or wrongly thought that he had the skills, knowledge and capacity to facilitate the work of the Council – not because of his alleged proximity to the President.

The IMC board reported to the Minister in The Presidency. Former Minister Pahad can further elaborate on the matter.

When he commented on the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment in the matter between the “National Director of Public Prosecutions v Zuma” on January 13, 2009, President Mbeki made, among others, the following observations: “It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country. I am pleased that the SCA has provided firm leadership in this regard by insisting that nobody's integrity should be impugned on the basis of untested allegations.”

15 Jul 14:56

Pretorius hands over the bundle to Zondo.

He says to Zuma, "I hope to deal with the questions slowly, in such a manner so that you are not taken by surprise."

15 Jul 14:53

Sikhakhane (also for Zuma) intervenes and suggests that the commission proceed with Pretorius' suggestion to go ahead with testimony related to Themba Maseko. 

Zuma received documentation relating to Maseko's testimony from the commission in August last year, so the argument is that he is prepared for this leg of evidence. 

15 Jul 14:50

Mantsha says the issue is about more than documents. 

Zondo stops him. "Let's stick to what is at issue". 

"It is true that the last letter said the commission was not going to receive any more communications from you, but it did not say you were withdrawing as Mr Zuma's attorneys of record." 

15 Jul 14:48

Zuma's lawyer Daniel Mantsha now wants to address the commission. 

He says that since communications between himself and the commission broke down, "I washed my hands of it". So any correspondence given to his office was done so, "at your peril". 

15 Jul 14:44

Pretorius says there is an acknowledgement of receipt on the 1st of July, and an electronic copy was also sent. 

More documentation was also sent last year in August, related to the evidence of Themba Maseko, and there is written confirmation of receipt, Pretorius says.

He says there is not reason to delay the proceedings any further. 

15 Jul 14:39

Sikhakhane takes issue with the process, again. 

15 Jul 14:38
Note: Our live stream is now updated. Refresh your browser to watch the commission's proceedings, live.

15 Jul 14:37

There appears to be a dispute over the existence of a bundle of documents given to Zuma's legal team.

Pretorius: A bundle of documents was handed over to Zuma's legal team. 

Adv Muzi Sikhakhane (for Zuma) says he did not receive them. 

Zondo says two lever arch files were given to them two weeks ago. 

Sikhakhane repeats that he does not have them. 

Pretorius says they were delivered on 1 July to the offices of Mr Mantsha, the attorneys of record of Zuma. 

15 Jul 14:34
Zuma says he is not saying that everyone who comes to the commission is part of the conspiracy. It is more about the way that the commission came about and the term "state capture", he says.

15 Jul 14:33

Pretorius to Zuma: (paraphrasing) You say that a plan was hatched in the early 1990s to get rid of you. You say there are two foreign intelligence agency and one domestic intelligence agencies were involved. 

What's happened to you in the last twenty years has largely been as a result of this conspiracy. 

And this commission is the culmination of this conspiracy?

Zuma agrees. 

15 Jul 14:31

Pretorius says Zuma will be asked about issues arising from the testimony from these witnesses: 

Ngoako Ramatlhodi


Themba Maseko

Vytjie Mentor

Angelo Agrizzi


Nhlanhla Nene

Barbara Hogan

Mahlodi Muofhe

15 Jul 14:28
Evidence leader Adv Paul Pretorius is now on his feet. He says that the commission is investigating issues relevant to its terms of reference, and says this is not a trial where the evidence leaders want to prove a pre-determined case. 

15 Jul 14:25

Zuma continues his testimony. 

He starts by clarifying that the name of the movie being made about his rape trial is "Raped by power". 

He wants to talk more about "Ralph" the spy.

15 Jul 14:21

The Zondo commission is back after lunch. 

Zuma is still on the stand. 

15 Jul 14:18

BREAKING: Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has challenged former president Jacob Zuma to provide proof that he was ever an apartheid spy.

On Monday, Zuma, who is appearing before the state capture commission of inquiry for the first time, named Ramatlhodi as a spy "who was recruited in Lesotho", drawing gasps from the public gallery.

When contacted by News24, Ramatlhodi was hesitant to comment at first and said he would wait until Zuma had finalised his testimony at which stage he would apply to cross-examine him.

But when pushed, he denied ever being a spy and said he was "very much ready" to subject himself to a lie detector test – and would challenge Zuma to do the same. 

"It will not go uncontested. He must prove it. If he is alleging it, he must prove it. I have never been a spy anywhere. I don't want to be speaking about this thing in the media," he said.

"I want him to do his thing, I am going to put him through a lie detector and I am going to go through the lie detector before the commission - both of us," Ramatlhodi said. 

"There is technology today that can deal with these things. I am ready. I am very much ready," he added.

15 Jul 14:15

Watch our reporters analysing Zuma's testimony now.

15 Jul 13:55

As we wait for the commission to resume, Zuma's supporters are readying to hear from their leader outside the commission later on today. 

15 Jul 13:46

Earlier, Zuma told the commission how he learnt from Khumalo that Maduna and former National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka had approached the businessman, seeking money to fund a plan to force Zuma to leave politics.

Earlier in his testimony, Zuma mentioned a figure of R20m that he was allegedly offered to retire from politics and "go to Nkandla". Speaking to News24 on Monday, Maduna said Zuma's claims were "a blatant lie".

"This is the first time this suggestion has come up. It is a blatant lie. I never asked Mzi [Khumalo] for a cent for anyone, not even for myself," he said.

15 Jul 13:40

BREAKING: Former justice minister and anti-apartheid activist Penuell Maduna has hit back at former president Jacob Zuma, saying it is "a blatant lie" that he allegedly asked businessman Mzi Khumalo for money to entice the former president to retire from politics.

15 Jul 13:28

Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who Zuma claimed on Monday was a spy, was one of the stand-out witnesses of the commission so far.

He told the judicial commission that the infamous Gupta family would summon ministers and the president to their homes and "boast about it". Ramatlhodi was the fourth minister who served under former president Jacob Zuma to appear before the Zondo commission.  

15 Jul 13:26

Zuma, plots, poisonings, spies, Rupert and US agents - Here's what you should know:

1. The second part of Zuma’s testimony was much more threatening than the first, with the former president repeatedly saying that he has been “provoked”.

2. He named Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the former minister of mineral resources Zuma fired and replaced with Mosebenzi Zwane, as an apartheid spy recruited in Lesotho.

3. Zuma waived around a piece of paper and said that he has a list of names of (presumably) ANC leaders who worked as apartheid and American spies. 

4. Zuma also claimed that businessman Johann Rupert threatened to “shut down the country” if he fires Pravin Gordhan as finance minister. This was allegedly told to him by Fikile Mbalula.

5. The commission also heard that Zuma survived a poisoning attempt and that there was a plot to assassinate him in Durban, with the killers being flown in from overseas.

6. Zuma clung onto the Guptas, saying they were friends, comrades and businesspeople. He gave their newspaper (The New Age) its name and proposed that they should launch a news channel, which later became ANN7.

7. The Guptas were better friends with former president Thabo Mbeki than he was, Zuma claimed, and said that they were also friends of former president Nelson Mandela.

- Pieter du Toit

15 Jul 13:08

Zuma is repeating a story contained in Gayton McKenzie's book, "Kill Zuma By Any Means Necessary". In chapter four, titled 'Ralph', McKenzie relates details of the infamous spy Craig Williamson, and has this to say about the agent that infiltrated the ANC, named 'Ralph' or more commonly known as, 'Comrade Fear':

According to McKenzie, Ralph's real name is apparently Cyril Raymond - allegedly the deputy of Mzwakhe Ngwenya, better known as Thami Zulu who died in 1989 allegedly from poison after he was held by Mbokodo for 14 months. Mbokodo was the ANC's security arm in exile in African countries and elsewhere.

McKenzie had this to say: "Ralph's name crops up here and there....but what's most curious is about how little we officially know about him, especially as he was one of the most important agents for the South African government in their infiltration of the ANC. His role and impact was possibly far greater than Craig Williamson's could ever have been, and yet he features as little more than a few paragraphs in history's pages.

"One man who knows everything about this man's story, and the damage he once caused the ANC - and perhaps continues to cause - is not talking about it, either, and that man is Jacob Zuma."

- Kyle Cowan

15 Jul 13:06

Zuma wraps up his statement. 

Zondo says it is important that Zuma was given this opportunity. 

The commission adjourns for lunch.

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