Nomachule Gigaba, also referred to as Norma Mngoma, the estranged wife of former minister of home affairs Malusi Gigaba, appeared at the Zondo Commission on Monday night (April 26) to testify to Gupta-related evidence.
Mngoma testified to the Gupta influence, a R5-million-rand wedding, expensive gifts, having large amounts of cash to spend, and a privileged lifestyle where the state picked up most of the couple’s expenses.
Gigaba had given her a credit card with a R200 000 limit. He would also give her cash to shop overseas, R100 000/R150 000.
Read: UK sanctions Gupta brothers over South African corruption (Apr 27)
Attempts to stall the hearing
Gigaba’s counsel attempted to stop the hearing on the basis of marital privilege, or alternatively, that it be held in camera.
He argued that “these are parties who are married, going through an acrimonious divorce” and should be protected by the marital privilege. Counsel further submitted that “the commission should not be used as a platform … we submit is sets a tasteless precedent”.
The commission had however only approached Mngoma after she had appeared on TV.
Evidence leader Anton Myburgh SC said that the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), which allows a spouse to refuse to disclose evidence when testifying before a court of law, does not apply to the commission’s proceedings.
Mngoma’s counsel also attempted to have the hearing delayed on the basis that Mngoma’s affidavit contained inaccuracies.
Neither counsel was successful.
Mngoma dropped some revelations:
- Gigaba referred to the Guptas as his unofficial advisors.
- Ajay Gupta informed him that he would get the post of minister of public enterprises two to three months before he got the position. The Guptas also informed Gigaba of other official appointments ahead time.
- Ajay Gupta gave her son a gold necklace, but Gigaba took it and she never saw the necklace again.
- She and Gigaba went to the Waterkloof Air Force Base the day before the Gupta wedding, as Gigaba had to meet the Gupta wedding guests.
- At the Gupta residence, Ajay Gupta would brief Gigaba about South African Airways (SAA) or Transnet, or a forthcoming meeting. Ajay would tell Gigaba who he thought should be appointed to a particular position. They also discussed the Kusile Power Station project at Eskom.
- Gigaba told her that the Guptas didn’t like Brian Dames, the chief executive of Eskom from July 2010 until the end of March 2014, and that there would be a restructuring. Dames apparently didn’t dance to the Guptas’ tune.
- If Ajay Gupta wanted someone to be appointed, he put pressure on Gigaba. Gigaba started avoiding Ajay’s calls. Ajay told Gigaba that he should remember why he was appointed at the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).
- When Gigaba didn’t always do the Gupta’s bidding, he was told that he would be sent back to the Department of Home Affairs.
- The Guptas had given Gigaba a white BMW 3 series, which was registered in her name.
State-funded trip to India
Mngoma confirmed a state funded trip to India, where Gigaba was to meet Gupta family members who could assist in running an airline, and who needed permits.
She didn’t see who attended the meeting in India as she was out shopping.
Myburgh asked Mngoma what she knew about the Guptas’ application for South African citizenship, but she wasn’t comfortable talking about this.
Mngoma was not able to check the dates of trips, as her passports were missing. She had two passports, her private passport and a government official passport.
When Gigaba was at the DPE, he argued a lot with Dudu Myeni, former chair of SAA. He would meet Myeni at the Sheraton hotel in Pretoria, but sometimes she would come to their home.
Myeni would tell Gigaba what to do, and he didn’t like this. He used to question why she was appointed as she wasn’t competent. Gigaba thought she was feeding information to former president Zuma.
If Gigaba didn’t follow the instructions of Myeni or Ajay Gupta, one of them would call Zuma.
Myeni facilitated a trip to Mauritius for the couple before they got married, and had arranged the itinerary. Mngoma said that Gigaba had paid for the trip.
Mngoma planned the couple’s wedding. Ajay Gupta gave Gigaba cash towards the wedding and their honeymoon in Dubai. Gigaba gave her cash to pay for the wedding, which cost between R4 million and R5 million, and was paid for in cash.
Zondo asked if she didn’t find it strange that she was given all this cash. Mngoma replied that Gigaba had been a minister for a long time, and that he had a money market account. She said that Gigaba used to take out all the money that he would make from the money market. He did this every year.
“And most of our expenses were paid for by the state … we both had salaries and we hardly paid for anything in the house.”
She also retorted that amounts of R50 000 to R100 000 “were not large to us”.
Gigaba would be given cash at the Gupta residence, when he was having meetings. Sometimes he would ask his bodyguards to bring “the bag from the car”. Gigaba had two large bags and one small one.
On one occasion Mngoma saw what was in the bag – bundles of notes. They often went to Sandton City together after visiting the Gupta residence. She saw him taking cash from the large bag in the boot and putting it in his shoulder bag.
Mngoma identified similar bags in photographs in the evidence bundle.
On returning home Gigaba would pack the cash into the safe. Ajay Gupta also gave him cash for the ANC elections.
A cash counting machine had been installed at the Gupta compound. You could press the amount of money wanted, and the machine dispensed cash in R100 and R200 denominations.