Ace Magashule and Duduzane Zuma each received R1 million monthly from the infamous Gupta family, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard yesterday, during the testimony of former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana.
Dukwana also related before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo how Magashule arranged two meetings between him and the Guptas – one at the Midrand Sahara family business premises in February 2008 and another in 2012 at the Saxonwold Gupta compound.
Dukwana said it was at the Saxonwold visit in 2012 that he began to raise eyebrows when Tony Gupta disclosed that Magashule and Duduzane were on a monthly R1 million payroll.
Dukwana said it was also at the Saxonwold home where he refused to sign a letter on an economic development MEC letterhead, authorising a R41.8 billion investment project which favoured the Guptas, in exchange for R2 million payment and a further R2 million monthly fee in the building of a “new city” in the Lejweleputswa District Municipality in the Free State.
The deal apparently related to the creation of a South African version of Silicon Valley in the municipality.
When Magashule, who was apparently referred to by the Guptas as “Brother Ace”, approached Dukwana for an arranged “fundraising dinner trip to Sandton” – the MEC saw that as “an opportunity”.
At the time, said Dukwana, ANC provincial leaders were preparing for an elective conference and he served as treasurer on the executive committee – with an added responsibility to fundraise for party coffers.
Said Dukwana: “Ace said I should not worry with travel arrangements because his office would do that. That morning, we took an SA Express flight from Bloemfontein. When we arrived at OR Tambo International Airport, there were no police VIP protection officers awaiting to accompany us to our destination. We were met by people and driven in two separate cars that followed each other.”
Dukwana said when they arrived at the Saxonwold compound, “I thought it must have been an easier way to Sandton”.
No fund-raising dinner took place on that day. Instead, they were welcomed inside the Gupta compound by Tony, who “politely asked me to hand over my cellphone, but did not do the same with Ace”.
Directed to a separate room, the Guptas offered Dukwana a newspaper to read and a soft drink, while Magashule “disappeared for some time with Tony”.
After a 15-minute wait, Gupta business associate Iqbal Sharma, Magashule, Duduzane and Tony emerged for a roundtable meeting with Dukwana.
“I was itching to find out from Ace, who sat across the table from me, what was happening. But throughout the episode, he looked down – avoiding any eye contact with me,” said Dukwana.
Tony then produced a letter written on an economic development MEC letterhead, bearing his name at the bottom for Dukwana to sign. He refused, saying only the head of department was authorised to do so.
“When it became clear that I was reluctant to sign, there was insistence that I do so. They later brought a black bag similar to that used by lawyers, which was filled with R2 million in R200 notes, and showed it to me.”
This was apparently when they informed him of the monthly payments being made to Magashule and Zuma.
Weeks later, Dukwana was fired by Magashule for declining the Gupta offer.
While Magashule has rubbished the allegations against him as “baseless”, his son Tshepiso, whose involvement with the failed Free State project has been revealed by Dukwana, has instructed advocate MS Mazibuko to “follow the proceedings” on his behalf.