Bags full of cash, secret visits to the Gupta family mansion in Saxonwold, and to the family’s business, Sahara, in Midrand.
That was the life of Malusi Gigaba when he was a government minister, and of former Eskom and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe.
This shocking evidence emerged at the Zondo commission of enquiry into state capture, from two security officers who worked as bodyguards for Gigaba and Molefe at various times.
One of the witnesses, who both gave evidence in camera because of fears for their security, was an experienced member of SAPS and a trained close protection officer assigned to Gigaba when he was a minister.
He said he accompanied Gigaba several times to the Gupta Sahara offices in Midrand, and on about 6 or 7 occasions to the Gupta home in Saxonwold. He said Gigaba told him to stop recording the visits in the official log book and after that he never did.
The security officer told the commission that Gigaba would carry “stashes of cash” with him inside the boot of the car. On occasion, he said, he saw the money in a sports bag, but did not know where it came from. He said the Minister would pay in cash in shops and at restaurants.
Another witness, Molefe’s bodyguard, said that when he he visited the Guptas in Saxonwold,he would often carry a light brown backpack, which on occasions had been stuffed with R200 notes.
“There were times when Molefe didn’t have the backpack with him, but when he didn’t have one, he would return from a meeting with the Guptas with a brown sports bag that was filled up with something,” the man said.
Describing an incident where he was instructed to go fetch Molefe’s cellphone from the bag, the witness said he opened the light brown leather backpack to get the phone.
“I was surprised to see bundles of R200 notes. I then called his personal assistant (PA) and showed her the cash. I told Mr Molefe that the money was a safety risk for both of us and he was visibly upset. He said it’s none of my business what’s inside the bag,” he added.
He revealed that he would often deposit cash for Molefe, which amounted from R5,000 to R20,000.
“I would usually get the money from Mr Molefe’s PA or directly from him,” he said.