Guptas didn't buy me with private flight to Russia - Mabuza | Fin24
 
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Guptas didn't buy me with private flight to Russia - Mabuza

Apr 25 2018 18:48
Khulekani Magubane

Cape Town – Deputy President David Mabuza maintained that he was not and could not have been bought by the Gupta family because they paid for him to fly to Russia to receive medical treatment. 

A visibly comfortable and confident Mabuza faced sharp questions on how government looks to ensure justice prevails, following what many consider to be an era of rampant plunder and state capture under former president Jacob Zuma. 

The Gupta family’s alleged influence over Zuma is considered central in the state capture narrative.

However, Mabuza was quizzed about his own relationship with the controversial family and whether he believed he was in their debt after they flew him to Russia on a private plane to receive medical attention when he fell ill.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart asked Mabuza whether he has taken any steps since February 27 2018 to improve the lack of accountability and enforcement of sanctions against board directors and management of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

“In the SONA (State of the Nation Address) the president highlighted steps to highlight governance failings in SOEs. Action has been taken at Eskom to strengthen governance and restore stability.

"The inquiry into state capture will commence its work soon. Confidence in public institutions must be restored and those guilty of wrongdoing must be identified,” Mabuza replied.

“Boards will embark on a recovery of funds and probing contracts to find instances of maladministration and bringing those responsible to book. Chapter nine institutions and Parliament have assisted greatly in highlighting these and we hope to remove dependence of SOEs on the fiscus."

The temperature in the National Assembly when up a notch when Economic Freedom Fighter MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi reminded the house that Mabuza was premier of Mpumalanga when the Gupta family scored major coal mining business in that province.

“As leader of government business, when you were premier of Mpumalanga the Guptas looted mines in your province with Duduzane Zuma under your watch.

"These same Guptas sponsored your private flight to Russia. How can you hope to hold people like these accountable?” asked Mkhaliphi.

Mabuza diffused the excitement by saying that the role of provincial government in the awarding of mining rights to businesses is considerably limited, and that he would not have been able to play a significant role in that case.

“Provinces do not issue mining licences. The investigation we are talking about that looks into state capture will determine what went wrong,” he said.

He added that whether he was given a lift to hospital or not, it was not a valid argument to say that he was beholden to the family to repay them in any way.

He said in that situation he was a beneficiary of goodwill, and that he did not believe he could be bought with a trip to the doctor.

“As a citizen when you see people in an accident that are trapped in a car, your duty as a citizen would be to assist them and get them to hospital. Those people don’t owe you anything for taking them to hospital. It is your duty as a citizen,” he said.

Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone expressed the frustration that Parliament had experienced in summonsing witnesses to get to the bottom of state capture. She asked Mabuza whether government would consider issuing an interdict citation.

He replied: “There is confusion of my role as leader of government business. I am leader of government business insofar as the executive’s interactions with entities and insofar as the executive interacts with Parliament. There will be no person that escapes our law.”

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