Gigaba also gave evidence relating to dodgy dealings with the Gupta brothers during his tenure as minister of public enterprises from 2010 to 2014.
Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba testified at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture for the first time on Friday and dealt with his estranged wife’s “extensive lies”.
Among other issues, Gigaba dealt with his estranged wife Nomachule Gigaba’s “creative imagination” in terms of the allegations she made during her testimony at the commission.
Also known as Norma Mngoma, she has previously alleged that it could not have been fewer than 20 times that Gigaba had visited the Gupta family’s compound in Saxonworld, Johannesburg.
However, Gigaba has denied the allegations.
“I’m a bit conflicted here, let me declare. Because I would want an opportunity, ample opportunity to respond comprehensively to Ms Mngoma’s creative imagination. I want to deal with what she testified here. The extensive lies, the inaccuracies, and the fabrications.
“But it suffices for now to say, it was not more than 20 times. It was not more than 20 times, as she claims, because it would beggar the question, how did she arrive at that calculation, even that the instances she refers to, at which she claims she was present, do not even amount to more than two or three times,” he said.
Gigaba also gave evidence relating to dodgy dealings with the Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – during his tenure as minister of public enterprises from 2010 to 2014.
During his testimony, the former minister admitted to knowing the fugitive brothers, having met them for the first time in the early 2000s while he was president of ANC Youth League.
“I do not have a specific recollection, chairperson, but I was still president of the ANC Youth League. It would have been different occasions. It was not direct meetings and interactions with them because back then, I think as Mr Gwede Mantashe indicated when he was here, they were quite involved in the ANC, helping the ANC to fundraise, so they were well known among the leadership of the ANC.
“I think from records, one of them had served in the international investment council, during president [Thabo] Mbeki’s time, and I don’t know whether it’s investment council, or the IT one, and they were quite close with the leadership of the ANC, so that’s when I first met them,” Gigaba said.
The former minister told the commission he could not remember how many times he met the Guptas.
He, however, denied having any business dealings with the Guptas, saying he only attended their social and cultural events.
Gigaba also denied having private meetings with Gupta associate and businessman Salim Essa.
The former minister was also questioned about Transnet’s acquisition of 100 and 1064 locomotives, to which he indicated he was not involved in the procurement process.
“I have heard about the evidence, but obviously only knew prior to this I had no such knowledge since I was not involved in the procurement process of the 1,064 locomotives. My responsibility and role was only limited to the shareholder’s responsibility, which I detailed in [my] affidavit,” he said.
Gigaba said the matter, dubbed the locomotive heist, had shocked him.
“To the extent that it may be true surely it would shock me because it would have been something we would have not intended. When I became Minister of Public Enterprises the decision to procure the 1,064 locomotives was already there so it was not invented by myself.
“You’ll notice that in some of my interactions with Transnet’s board I raised concerns about the delays because in my opinion they would have had several consequences,” he said.
He added that he was not privy to Essa’s involvement in the procurement process of the locomotives.
“In so far as the involvement of Mr Essa… I was not aware it as I’m only hearing of it through the commission.”