Gupta email trail shows appointment calendar‚ listing government leaders booked for visits

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The Guptas email appointment calendar shows that the family lined up a string of visits by top South African provincial and national government members.

Businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta. PICTURE: TimesLive

A tranche of leaked emails dating back to 2012 show who was invited to visit them at their Saxonworld home and exactly when these purported visits occurred. They point to a picture of a family who wined and dined politicans in their apparent bid to capture lucrative state business deals.

Many of these visitors have either denied impropriety‚ refused to comment or downplayed the appointments as their own private business.

The Times can reveal that among the guests was President Jacob Zuma’s former private secretary‚ Delsey Sithole.

The leaked emails show in addition to the meeting‚ she forwarded a guest list for a Jacob Zuma Foundation Dinner to her own Gmail account‚ before sending it on to Gupta owned Sahara executive Ashu Chawla in October 2012. She also sent her son’s CV to Tony Gupta‚ asking him to allow him an internship with his company.
Yesterday she confirmed she had sent the CV.

“I was no longer private secretary to the President in 2013. This was a request in good faith to a contact. It was not linked to any favours or expectations on his side.”

The calendar appointments‚ which cements the veracity of the emails‚ which the Hawks are currently investigating‚ include visits by the likes of former government spokesman Jimmy Manyi.

His response when questioned over the purpose of his visit‚ was that he was no longer a member of government‚ and that what he did with his time “is none of your business”.

Other visitors include several provincial leaders‚ such as Free State premier Ace Magashule and North West premier‚ Supra Mahumapelo.

North West provincial government spokesman‚ Brian Setswambung‚ did not deny that Mahumapelo had met with the Gupta family‚ but would not comment on what the meeting was about.

Those who the calendar shows planned to knock on the Guptas front door also include current mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane‚ who paid them a visit while he was the Free State Rural Development and Agricultural MEC.

His spokesman referred The Times to a post-Cabinet statement urging all implicated to cooperate with law enforcement investigating the emails.

Obed Bapela‚ former deputy minister in the Presidency‚ currently Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs deputy minister‚ is also named.

Bapela did not deny the meetings and said he had been friends with the Gupta family since 2001.

“We are still friends to this day.”

Peter Thabethe‚ who headed the Free State Agriculture and Rural Development department‚ also visited the Guptas home‚ once with his former boss‚ Zwane. His spokesman‚ Zimasa Mbewu‚ said he was out of the country.

Elzabe Rockman‚ who was appointed Free State Treasury MEC in March 2013‚ is also mentioned. Her spokesperson referred The Times to this statement:

“The Free State Premier has noted the so-called email communications circulating. The relevant authorities‚ including the Hawks‚ have embarked on investigations which are intended to test the validity and authenticity of such emails.

“Until such investigations are concluded‚ the Premier and the Free State Provincial Government shall not respond to enquiries.”

Other controversial visitors include Jacinto Rocha‚ who as former Deputy Director General Mining and Mineral Resources‚ in 2011‚ signed off on an estimated R7-billion iron ore prospecting rights application to Imperial Crown Trading. Those who have interests in the company include Gupta alleged ally Jagdish Parekh‚ Duduzane Zuma and former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s partner‚ Gugu Mtshali.

Rocha‚ when approached for comment‚ said he had resigned from the mining ministry in February 2011 and at the time of visiting the Gupta family‚ was a consultant in the mining industry.

Government ministers who have been shown to have had appointments with the Guptas include former communications minister Dina Pule‚ who visited the Guptas with Magashule in October 2012. While she did not deny the meeting‚ she declined to comment on it.

State-owned enterprise board members who had appointments to see the Guptas include former SAA board member Rajesh Naithani‚ past Eskom board member Romeo Kumalo and SABC deputy board chairman Thami ka Plaatjie.

Plaatjie did not respond to questions.

Naithani‚ who was appointed in September 2012 by then Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba‚ allegedly fed the Guptas information from board meetings and allegedly lobbied the Gupta’s for a position at Transnet. He also failed to respond to emailed questions.

Kumalo at the time of his visit was the Executive Commercial Director of Vodacom. He told The Times the Guptas lobbied him to get advertising in the Gupta owned New Age newspaper.

“I told them Vodacom had governance policies on placing advertising and they would have to follow the correct channels and procedures. They never did‚ and Vodacom never placed any advertising at the time in The New Age.

“I abhor corruption and every form of state capture.”

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