In 2009, Jacinto Rocha who was then a senior civil servant in the department of mineral resources, was called into a meeting with President Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane and Tony Gupta.
At that meeting, the groundwork was apparently laid for Rocha to facilitate deals for Duduzane and the Guptas. Sunday Times reports Zuma told Rocha to help his son wherever he could.
“Duduzane is my only child involved with money. I will appreciate if you could help him wherever you could,” said Zuma.
It is understood the Guptas and Duduzane were intent on going into the mining industry and were looking to buy several mines.
The weekly also reports that Rocha started a mining consultancy company with Duduzane and the Guptas as his clients in 2010. However, his involvement with the Guptas did not end there as shortly before Zuma announced a Cabinet reshuffle in June 2012, Rocha was offered a post to become the new transport minister’s advisor by Duduzane and the influential family.
It has been revealed that:
- Two days before he became minister of transport, Martins was called to Saxonwold and met Rocha whom he was told was one of his advisors
- Rocha was told he would receive R100m if he could ensure the Guptas were the recipients of contracts at the department of transport
- Email evidence shows how Martins and Rocha were under pressure from the Guptas to replace board members with people familiar to them
Rocha detailed how he was offered the role of advisor to Martins by the Guptas. He told Sunday Times six days before the Cabinet reshuffle, Tony Gupta asked to meet with him. Though he did not immediately accept the proposal, he eventually communicated to Tony he was keen and requested that he meet Martins beforehand.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Nqulunga said the president was unaware of the allegations.
“We wish to emphasise that the appointment of ministerial support staff including advisors is done by the minister without the involvement of the president or Presidency.”
Martins has confirmed that he visited the Guptas while another advisor, Robert Nkuna is said to have visited the Guptas before the Cabinet reshuffle.
Since the leaking of thousands of Gupta related emails, correspondence has revealed the Guptas have had a hand in approving ministers and in purchasing a luxury R18 million Dubai pad for Duduzane. It was also reported that a palace in that city was bought for Zuma and the family had made appeals on his behalf to grant him and his family residency.
The presidency has denied all the claims.