In a revealing interview, the Ramatlhodi said the Guptas boasted about how they summoned Zuma at will.
A former minister says minutes from NEC meetings will prove that top ANC members told Zuma his relationship with the Guptas was ‘toxic’.
Former minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi took the stand at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday, making a series of explosive allegations against former president Jacob Zuma and the controversial Gupta family.
Ramatlhodi, who was South Africa’s minister of public service and administration from 2015 to 2017, did not hold back, alleging among other things, that the Gupta’s used to handle Zuma’s diary.
He said he was told by a friend that a secretary working for the Guptas in Saxonwold ran the president’s diary, and that he would “come running” if called.
According to the former minister, Zuma gave the impression that his friendship with the Guptas was a necessity that needed to be maintained at all costs, despite various ANC members confronting him over his relationship with the controversial businessmen.
Ramatlhodi claimed that at NEC meetings, top ANC members told Zuma that his relationship with the Guptas was toxic. He also said that minutes of the meetings would back this up.
When confronted, Zuma would apparently mention the help the Gupta family gave to his children when no one else would assist them, and said he had no choice but to reciprocate their kindness.
Ramatlhodi also said that pressure was put on him to meet Ajay Gupta and attend the family newspaper’s notorious The New Age (TNA) breakfasts.
The former minister also alleged that former ministers Des Van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane used to “camp” out at the Gupta family’s Saxonwold residence before they were appointed as ministers. He claimed Van Rooyen and Zwane even “boasted” about being “Gupta ministers”.
Ramatlhodi also described a call from then president Zuma’s son Duduzane in which he “sounded desperate” and demanded to meet him about safety gear on one of the Gupta’s mines. When Ramatlhodi asked Zuma to tell his son not to call him again, Zuma allegedly replied: “Ku lungile mfanakithi,” which basically translates to “It’s alright”.
These were part of the revelations by the former minister.