Ramaphosa says he met with Tony Gupta and confronted him about Waterkloof

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

In an affidavit the president requested be made public, he details all his meetings with members of the Gupta family.

Chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, granted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s request to make the affidavit submitted by the president to the commission public on Friday.

The affidavit, which is in The Citizen’s possession, is Ramaphosa’s account of any connection he has ever had with the Gupta family, facilities management company Bosasa, and any related entities.

The president admits to attended a meeting with a Gupta brother he believes was Tony, following having met the brothers twice before on occasions “where nothing of any consequence was discussed”.

According to Ramaphosa, the “only occasion on which matters of substance were discussed was when the Gupta brothers requested a meeting with ANC officials to discuss their situation in relation to the closure of their bank accounts”. He writes that at this meeting “the controversy around their relationship with” former president Jacob Zuma was also raised.

“At his meeting, held during April 2016, various issues were discussed, including the closure of the bank accounts of one of their businesses, Oakbay,” Ramaphosa writes. He says Tony Gupta also made a business presentation and detailed their various businesses, including those in the mining and media sectors at the meeting.

He said he confronted Gupta on the hugely controversial Waterkloof Air Base landing in 2013, telling Tony that the family had, “through their actions, placed the president in an invidious position”.

According to the president, the Gupta brother’s reaction was that permission for the place to land had been obtained and given by the Indian High Commissioner.

Of his prior dealings with the Gupta’s, which he said were less important, Ramaphosa writes: “The first time I met them was at a media briefing held by ANC officials that took place after the 53rd Conference of the African National Congress (the ANC) in Bloemfontein.”

According to Ramaphosa, this was in December 2012 at a breakfast media briefing by the SABC where the resolutions taken at the ANC’s conference were presented by its newly elected officials.

“I am not able to say which of the brothers I met at the time as I did not get to know their individual names,” he writes.

Ramaphosa said he next met members of the family at a similar event after the 2014 national elections.

Other than the meeting described, the president said: “My interactions with the Gupta brothers were at events where nothing of any consequence was discussed. I never engaged with them beyond basic greetings pleasantries and common courtesies.”

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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