Parliament - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says he was never formally introduced to the controversial Gupta family, and he was just one of several ministers who had been invited to the family’s events.
Gigaba is testifying at Parliament’s inquiry into state capture at state-owned companies.
“I was not formally introduced to the Guptas. There are a number of other ministers who were being invited to these activities, and they attended. Eventually we started trickling out because of various reasons.
“I don’t know why they went out to me(invitations), people think you being there adds value, adds colour to the ceremonies. Many people in business go to the extent of inviting celebrities, and pay. That’s why I didn’t find it peculiar.
“When I was in Durban I got invited to a number of religious gathering. It was nothing of significance, no decisions get taken there,” said Gigaba.
His appearance follows news on Monday night that the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma, fingered for their role in the capture of state-owned companies, would not appear before the inquiry.
In his submission, which he read out, Gigaba accounted for his time as Minister of Public Enterprises between November 2010 and May 2014.
He said it was “disheartening and shocking” to witness his board appointments who were now being impugned.
Asked by the DA’s Natasha Mazzone about former president Jacob Zuma’s role in the appointment of board members at the state-owned companies, he said he would only see his former boss to consult.
He also denied that he was one of Zuma’s favourites.
“No, I was not. I would go to the president to consult. He (Zuma) would not say, bring this one on, take this one out. I won’t say I was a favoured member of the Cabinet.
“There were many people who were never reshuffled, that does not make them favourites. I was not the first, or the second option for finance minister...that is on public record.
“There was someone else who was being earmarked for finance minister, when that did not happen because of disagreements within the Tripartite Alliance,” said Gigaba.