NEWS

Guptas Zeroed In On Staff Closest To Zuma

It is alleged that the Guptas had a relationship with Zuma's staff, including his head of security.

19/07/2017 07:26 SAST | Updated 19/07/2017 07:26 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
A general view of the Sahara computers headquarters, owned by the Gupta family, is seen in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Gupta family "zeroed in" on some of the people closest to President Jacob Zuma, including his secretary and head of security, amaBhungane, Scorpio, and News24 reported on Wednesday.

Some of the officials appear to have done favours for the Guptas, and it appears as though the family sought to recruit people close to the president.

One of these was Major-General Muzingaye Mxolisi Dladla, head of the presidential protection services and long-time bodyguard of Zuma. According to the report, emails show that in 2010, a sister company to the Gupta's Sahara Computers wanted to send Dladla and his wife, Mogotladi Mogano to the Maldives.

The trip appears not to have happened.

"Whilst Sahara did make an offer, my then partner and I did not receive tickets and did not undertake the offered travel," said Mogano.

Then in 2013, Tony Gupta appears to have placed the blame on Dladla for the fact that BMWs illegally fitted with blue lights and false number plates escorted the Guptas to their Sun City wedding ceremony.

Dladla denied assisting Gupta.

It is also alleged that the Guptas met Zuma's chief of staff, Lakela Kaunda four times between 11 December 2012 and 31 January 2013.

One of the meetings was allegedly to discuss hosting "an elaborate welcoming ceremony" at OR Tambo International – a reference to the Sun City wedding.

Kaunda denied facilitating the Gupta family's arrival.

The Gupta leaks also show that Zuma's private secretary, Delsey Sithole, received over R8000 from a Gupta companyin 2009. Rajesh Gupta also invited Sithole and her son to watch the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

They were joined in the Sahara suite by the likes of Zuma's son Edward, one of Zuma's wives, and former head of police crime intelligence, Richard Mdluli.

Mogano was also offered a job by the Guptas, which she declined.

She reportedly said this week that she no longer had any association to Dladla or the Guptas.

"With concerns of state capture and as valid as they are, I do accept that such associations can raise doubts about one's professionalism and loyalty to the public service code of conduct...I have not allowed my association with elements of the Gupta family enterprise to influence my work adversely or unethically, but have also learnt from recent events to be more vigilant and judicious in professional relationships," she said.