South Africa 10.9.2018 12:47 pm

Zondo orders Guptas to explain why they can’t testify in person

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The family has, through their legal representative, told the state capture inquiry that they prefer to testify via video link from a location in Dubai.

The fugitive Gupta brothers – Ajay, Rajesh, and Atul – will have to submit affidavits regarding their refusal to travel to South Africa to testify at the commission of inquiry into state capture, inquiry chairman Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said on Monday.

The Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma have applied to the commission to be allowed to cross-examine witnesses such as ex-MP Vytjie Mentor, former government spin doctor Themba Maseko, and former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas. The three gave explosive testimony implicating the Guptas, Zuma, and Duduzane.

The family has, through their legal representative, told Zondo that they preferred to testify via video link from a location in Dubai, rather than travel to South Africa and be subjected to more ”incompetence by the police and prosecutors”.

Evidence leader Vincent Maleka argued last week against Guptas preference for video link, and told Zondo that the family wanted the commission to work according to their terms. The family’s evidence, he said, was not ”worth a paper written on” and was all about them portraying themselves as innocent in the state capture saga.

Zondo would rule on the applications to cross-examine this week.

Last week’s damning testimony by Government Communication Information System (GCIS) acting CEO Phumla Williams implicated former communications minister Faith Muthambi. Williams described Muthambi rule at the department as a ”a reign of terror and stealing”.

Muthambi has not requested permission to cross-examine Williams while the former president has reportedly said the evidence presented so far at the commission does not implicate him in any wrongdoing and would therefore not request to cross-examine witnesses.

Maleka told the commission one person who had refused to testify ”had a change of heart” and would testify. He did not reveal who that was.

The commission is on Monday hearing evidence from national treasury official Jan Gilliland who traced the millions of rands paid from government coffers to the Gupta-owned New Age newspaper and news television network ANN7.

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