The South African finance minister is weathering a dark storm, after a classified report emerged and is now circulating in the public domain. He was reacting to allegations in a report on state capture by the Public Affairs Research Institute (Pari) that he appointed people with Gupta-Zuma-aligned interests to the boards of state owned enterprises while he was public enterprises minister.
The report is filled with inaccuracies and “continues the trend of defamation”‚ said Mayihlome Tshwete‚ Gigaba’s spokesperson.
On Thursday‚ Pari released a report‚ titled Betrayal of the Promise: How the Nation is Being Stolen‚ by several academics. The 72-page document details how the Gupta family‚ through various companies and friends‚ including President Jacob Zuma‚ gained beneficial access to profit from several multi-million contracts with state owned companies‚ whether directly through shell companies and legitimate businesses or indirectly as brokers or middle-men – and how their actions can be likened to a “silent coup”.
Another stinging report contains a timeline of changes to the boards of state owned enterprises by Gigaba between 2010 and 2012‚ when he was public enterprises minister‚ and alleges these appointments were part of the systemic reconfiguring of these boards to align certain interests.
It began when he attempted to appoint trade and industry department official Iqbal Sharma as the chairperson of Transnet’s board‚ but failed. The appointment‚ the report says‚ was vetoed by Cabinet because apparently “he was too close to the Guptas”.
Sharma was later appointed as the chairperson of the Board Acquisitions and Disposals Committee at Transnet in what appears to be a circumvention of the veto.
It is now clear that Sharma was a close Gupta ally‚ the report said.
Brian Molefe was at this time already the chief executive of Transnet‚ appointed by Gigaba. This is the same Molefe who has controversially been reappointed chief executive of Eskom.
The Transnet disposals committee was to oversee “planned large-scale infrastructure spending” for all tenders above R2.5-billion.