Former sports and recreation minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday that he was ready to appear before the Zondo commission into state capture and give his side of the story about his encounter with the controversial Gupta brothers.
In an open letter published by Daily Maverick in 2017, former finance minister Trevor Manuel said Mbalula had made a tearful confession to the ANC’s national executive committee NEC in 2011 about his interaction with Atul Gupta.
Mbalula, however, later told Business Day that it was not Atul, but Ajay, who congratulated him on his appointment as sports minister.
In an interview with eNCA on Friday, Mbalula said he had explained everything about the encounter to former public protector Thuli Madonsela, and would be more than willing to testify at the commission.
“I’m mentioned there, at the state capture, and then I’m talking to the investigators, so at a given point in time and date agreed, I think I’ll be called upon to give an account of what I probably said in the NEC about the Guptas and I’ve got no fear about that. I went to Thuli Madonsela, I explained to her exactly what happened, so she knows what happened. So if I’m called upon, I will be there.”
EFF leader Julius Malema once detailed, in an interview with Tbo Touch, how Mbalula apparently cried when he received a phone call from the Guptas.
Mbalula had tried to avoid being captured, said Malema. In fact, getting a call from the Guptas telling him he would be police minister eventually left Mbalula in tears.
“I know when the Guptas called him and told him that he’s going to be minister of sports, he was offended by that.”