Gupta investigation: Cwele wanted it to stop, former DG tells Zondo commission

Siyabonga Cwele.
Siyabonga Cwele.
Marietjie Gericke
  • Former minister Siyabonga Cwele was allegedly opposed to the State Security Agency's investigation of the Gupta family. 
  • Cwele had allegedly said the investigation was not pursued bona fide.
  • The former SSA DG said Cwele did not instruct him to stop the investigation, but it was clear that he wanted it to stop.

Former State Security minister Siyabonga Cwele was allegedly opposed to the agency's investigation of the Gupta family, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Friday.

Cwele had allegedly objected to the investigation, saying it was not pursued bona fide, but was rather being pursued by former head of intelligence Gibson Njenje, who was "protecting his business interests".

Testifying at the State Capture Inquiry on Friday, former director-general (DG) at the State Security Agency (SSA) Mzuvukile Maqetuka said although he does not recall Cwele instructing them to stop the investigation, "his utterances, interaction and gestures were that this must stop".

Several instances motivated the investigation. 

Information from US intelligence services and concerns about the family's involvement in the purchase of a uranium mine. A report that Fikile Mbalula, speaking during an NEC (national executive committee) meeting, raised that one of the Gupta brothers had informed him he would be offered a Cabinet post before he was officially told about it.

READ | Zondo commission: Ranjeni Munusamy drops bid to cross-examine witness

The NEC meeting, which took place in August 2011, saw members having a tense discussion about the influence of the Guptas."The issue of Mbalula we considered it a very serious national security issue," he told the commission."He was told by an outsider that he was going to be appointed. We said 'no'. The second one, was to protect [former] president [Jacob] Zuma because we said it will tarnish his relationship with his people.

"It will tarnish his [Zuma] name, and mind you, at that time, we did not have the depth of his relationship with these people but today, 2020, we can look back and say we were right, we were right to have alerted him and we were right to have said it will tarnish his name," Maqetuka said.

He said he and his intelligence colleagues, Njenje and Mo Shaik, had a meeting with Cwele in Cape Town in 2011, but the meeting did not yield results. 

He said in that meeting they were mostly "rambling" about the so-called conflict of interest regarding Njenje's business interests and the Guptas.

Curious

He said, until today, he was still curious about what business interests Cwele was referring to.

"When I saw that we were not being serious about the matter, I said to the minister that we would discuss the matter with the president… at that time I was very clear I am not going to get instructions from the minister on this investigation. We will report this matter with the president."

He said they approached the former president and told him about the contents of the investigation.

He added that Zuma told them in detail about his relationship with the Gupta family.

"The president was going along with the idea that the investigation was irregular," Maqetuka said. 

He said although Zuma did not instruct them to stop the investigation, his demeanour during the meeting made it clear that he wanted it to stop. 

Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Russia has approved a Covid-19 vaccine. Would you take the vaccine if it were available in South Africa?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes I would
25% - 4040 votes
No I would not
31% - 4961 votes
I'd wait to see the outcomes first
45% - 7254 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
17.38
(-0.05)
ZAR/GBP
22.72
(-0.10)
ZAR/EUR
20.56
(-0.12)
ZAR/AUD
12.45
(-0.12)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.19)
Gold
1942.90
(+0.07)
Silver
26.42
(+0.07)
Platinum
941.16
(+0.46)
Brent Crude
44.74
(-0.36)
Palladium
2104.73
(+0.41)
All Share
57077.48
(-0.60)
Top 40
52737.48
(-0.65)
Financial 15
10156.41
(-0.69)
Industrial 25
75107.47
(-0.84)
Resource 10
58926.78
(-0.40)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo