AS IT HAPPENED | Zuma on Maseko, Mentor evidence: 'I don't remember, I can't comment, I wasn't there.'

2019-07-16 15:00

Former president Jacob Zuma is appearing for a second day at the commission of inquiry.

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Former president Jacob Zuma testifies at the Commi
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Last Updated at 13:24
16 Jul 15:43

Former president Jacob Zuma and former finance minister Malusi Gigaba greet as Zuma leaves the commission. 

(PIC: Pieter du Toit)


16 Jul 15:21

Adv Muzi Sikhakhane jumps in and requests that we adjourn for the day. 

Pretorius says he has no objection. 

"It has been a strenuous day," he says. 

The commission adjourns.


16 Jul 15:19

16 Jul 15:19

More on Barbara Hogan's testimony, now being put to Zuma: 

Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan said former president Jacob Zuma "hung her out to dry" while she faced immense pressure from some of her colleagues who wanted her to appoint Siyabonga Gama as Transnet CEO.

She testified that Zuma wanted Gama as the group CEO of Transnet, despite him facing allegations of misconduct.

"It actually shocked me," Hogan said.


16 Jul 15:17

Catch up on Hogan's testimony here: 


16 Jul 15:13

Pretorius to Zuma: One of the issues dealt with at the commission is how the leaders of various state owned entities are appointed. 

This is in relation to the former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan's evidence.



16 Jul 15:10

Meanwhile, the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national council has slammed former president Jacob Zuma's allegations against its national chairperson, Siphiwe Nyanda, and ex-combatant, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, calling Zuma a liar.


16 Jul 14:59

Zondo wants to know why Zuma thinks Mentor would make this up. 

Zuma says he doesn't know.


16 Jul 14:58

Zondo now questions Zuma. 

He says that according to Mentor, Zuma even walked her out after the incident at Saxonwold, where Ajay Gupta offered her the public enterprises ministry in exchange for her help with cancelling the SAA SA-India flight route. 

Mentor says Zuma helped her with her back and wanted to calm her down. 

"No recollection at all. None whatsoever," Zuma. 

Are you positive it never happened? asks Zondo. 

"Yes," says Zuma. 


16 Jul 14:55

REFRESHER: 

This is what Vytjie said about the Hawks complaint.


16 Jul 14:53

Zuma's lawyer, Dan Mantsha is now interjecting. 

He says that the Hawks officer concerned wants to cross-examine Mentor on her evidence and Zuma must be told that the issue is disputed. 

Zondo asks Sikhakhane who is the leader of Zuma's legal team to address him. Sikhakhane says we can proceed. 


16 Jul 14:50

Masuku says the impression must not be given that the Hawks have said this, and that it is Mentor's version. 

Pretorius says he thought that was clear.


16 Jul 14:49

Pretoruis reiterates that he is inviting Zuma to make a comment on the allegation that the Hawks said they would not investigate a complaint with his name in it. 

Zuma says "let me not comment because I don't know what is the cause of that". 

Masuku for Zuma intervenes. 


16 Jul 14:47

Pretorius wants to know whether this conduct is acceptable - that Zuma's name was removed from the complaint. Pretorius wants to know if Zuma wants to comment or has a view. 

Zuma, "No, I've got no idea what's happening here." 


16 Jul 14:46

Pretorius says that Mentor said she tried to lay charges with the Hawks over the incident regarding the Guptas. She says she was told that they could not investigate with Zuma's name in the complaint. 

Mentor removed his name from the complaint. 

Zuma says he was never informed that a complaint was laid which involved him. 


16 Jul 14:45

The commission resumes. 

Pretorius is still questioning Zuma on Vytjie Mentor's evidence.


16 Jul 14:43

PIC: Zuma being shown a copy of the enlarged text documents he was supposed to have received during the lunch break. 

(Pic: Pieter du Toit)


16 Jul 14:35

16 Jul 14:30

16 Jul 14:24

Pretorius points to Mentor's rebuttal. 

Mentor listed numerous instances where Zuma and she interacted - in Parliament's caucus and in a number of other political forums. She implies there is no way that Zuma did not remember her, and says former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe would never deny knowing her. 

Zuma disagrees with some of the detail, that they sat next to each other for example. 

Zondo says the gist of the matter is that she says there is no way that Zuma did not recall her. In fact, Zuma must have known her very well, Zondo says. 

Zuma lets out a small chuckle. 


16 Jul 14:17

There is some confusion over the document which Pretorius wants to use. 

Pretorius says a copy of the document which larger text for Zuma to read was given to Zuma's legal team to give to the former president to read over lunch. 

It appears as though Zuma did not receive it and now the copy he has has small text, which he cannot read. 



16 Jul 14:15

16 Jul 14:12
The statement included a phrase that Zuma "has no recollection" of Mentor. This was in early 2016. Zuma agrees this is true. 

16 Jul 14:11

The Zondo commission resumes. 

Pretorius now turns to a statement issued by the Presidency during Zuma's term. The presidency had received a number of enquiries from the press about statements made by Vytjie Mentor on social media. 

In the statement, the Presidency rejected her allegations about the Guptas. 

Zuma says at the time he did not recall who Mentor was. Other than that, the statement is correct, Zuma says.


16 Jul 13:27

COMMENT: Zuma’s morning testimony: What you should know

1.    A dramatic start, with claims by Zuma of death threats against him and his children as well as against his lawyer, Muzi Sikhakane.

2.    Pretorius led questions about Zuma's recollection of events surrounding the dismissal of Themba Maseko, former GCIS head, and allegations of the Guptas soliciting government advertising.

3.    Zuma’s legal team furiously objected to Pretorius’ line of questioning, saying it amounted to cross-examination and that the commission is not designed for that.

4.    An agreement was reached according in which Zuma’s team will cooperate with the process and Pretorius will frame his questions more clearly.

5.    Two important statements are now on the record: Zuma denied that he was involved in the dismissal of Maseko, and denied that the Guptas were ever involved in, or ever spoke to him about ministerial appointments.

- Pieter du Toit


16 Jul 13:04

COMMENT: The ANC's secretary general Ace Magashule has been the most high profile attendee at today's proceedings. Sitting between Dakota Legoete, a party spokesperson, and Carl Niehaus, who works in Magashule's office, he has been listening intently to his former boss's testimony. He has also given an impromptu press conference, telling journalists that Zuma's allegations of spies in the ANC are "serious" and needs to be investigated.

But it's his mere presence that's intriguing. During a tea break, he went to speak to Advocate Muzi Sikhakane, Zuma's counsel, who gave him a bear hug and kept his left hand on Magashule's shoulder for almost the entirety of the conversation.

And then he joined Zuma in the holding room for a private audience. As he did after the state of the nation address at Parliament recently, it looks like he wants to be seen, like he wants to be visible. He takes great care in greeting certain people, making sure the media sees it and moving about slowly and deliberately. Magashule remains cunning and calculating. - Pieter du Toit


16 Jul 13:01
The commission breaks for lunch.

16 Jul 13:01

16 Jul 12:59

Zondo asks if Zuma was ever at the Gupta residence at the same time as Mentor. 

"No, never."


16 Jul 12:57

Pretorius repeats. It's not about their discussion - it's about whether Gupta ever spoke to Zuma about an appointment into a ministerial position. 

"No, never," Zuma says.


16 Jul 12:57

Zuma is asked to respond.

Zuma laughs and says the conversation was between Mentor and Gupta, how can he comment? 

For clarity's sake, Pretorius says its not about commenting on what the two of them discussed, but to raise the "factual" question arising that Gupta thought he could talk to you about ministerial appointments. Is that correct?

"No. That's why I'm saying... I'm not there, I don't know why they had that discussion." 


16 Jul 12:54

Pretorius: Mentor says that immediately after his statements about the SA - India route, Ajay Gupta casually offered her the position of minister of public enterprises, if he agreed to lose SAA's SA - India route. 

Mentor says it is an "understatement" that she was shocked, and wondered how Gupta has so much power. Gupta allegedly said he would put in a word for her with the president and added, "we usually do." 


16 Jul 12:50

Zondo wants more clarity. 

Zuma says he always consults before cabinet reshuffles, especially with the ANC top six, and alliance leadership. 

The Guptas wouldn't have known.


16 Jul 12:48

Pretorius: Various issues were discussed in that meeting. She was told by the Gupta brother that there'd be a cabinet reshuffle in the next week or so, roughly October 2010. 

Zuma says he recalls the reshuffle as reshuffles happen regularly. 

Pretorius: it appears as if Ajay Gupta knew about a cabinet reshuffle that was to happen. Could he have known? 

Zuma: "No. Ajay Gupta was not part of government." 

Pretorius clarifies that Zuma is not saying that Ajay didn't know, but that the probabilities are that he wouldn't know. 


16 Jul 12:46

Pretorius: Mentor says she was picked up at the airport, taken to Sahara Computers, and taken to the Saxonwold compound. 

Ajay Gupta told her that Zuma knew of the meeting. 

Zuma cannot comment on it, he doesn't know about it.


16 Jul 12:45

Pretorius clarifies: they can't deal with the details of the interaction because Zuma doesn't remember any interaction with Mentor. 

Zuma agrees. 


16 Jul 12:44

Pretorius: Mentor says she received a call from Kaunda (this is some time in 2010) saying Zuma could see her the next day. He asks Zuma if he remembers this. 

Zuma, "No". 


16 Jul 12:43

Pretorius: Mentor says she tried to talk to you about the pebble bed nuclear reactors and talked to Lakela Kaunda, who she thought was your personal assistant, to set up a meeting. 

Zuma says he knows nothing about it. 


16 Jul 12:41

16 Jul 12:40

16 Jul 12:39

Zuma is asked if he remembers a state visit to China in 2010. 

Zuma says he's been to China a few times. He might not remember. 


16 Jul 12:38

REFRESHER: 


16 Jul 12:37

Pretorius: Another reason for Mentor's removal, she says, is her refusal to assist in the shutting down of the SA - India route. 

Zuma says he knows nothing about it.


16 Jul 12:35

Pretorius: Mentor says she chaired the public enterprises portfolio committee, and she was removed from the position in 2010. 

In her opinion, the reasons for her removal were twofold: that she refused to meet with yourself (Zuma) on the China state visit. 

"I know nothing about it." - Zuma


16 Jul 12:34

In a nutshell, Pretorius says, Mentor was offered a ministerial position if she advanced the Guptas' commercial interests, and that Zuma knew about this. 

Zuma says he had nothing to do with this.


16 Jul 12:33

Pretorius now turns to Vytjie Mentor's evidence. 

He says no finding has been made as to its veracity, but he wants to give Zuma the opportunity to comment. 


16 Jul 12:30

Pretorius wants to give Zuma the opportunity to comment on the "import" of what Maseko says. 

The nexus point is that Maseko says the Guptas wanted him to direct government's advertising budget to The New Age. And, "at the very least, he was punished" for not doing what Ajay Gupta wanted him to do, Pretorius says. 

Maseko attributes the decision to dismiss or transfer him to Zuma. 

Do you have any comment? Pretorius asks Zuma

"No, I did not cause him to be shifted," Zuma says.


16 Jul 12:27

Pretorius returns to the allegation that Zuma told Collins Chabane to fire Maseko because he wouldn't cooperate with the Guptas. 

"I never issued such an instruction," Zuma says.


16 Jul 12:25

Want to catch up with Themba Maseko's evidence? 


16 Jul 12:24
REFRESHER: Themba Maseko's statement to the commission

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