Former President Jacob Zuma allegedly sang “Umshini Wami” when the Guptas asked him to do so, according to evidence given before the Zondo commission.
Mafika Mkwanazi, who has served on various boards, including Transnet and Eskom, testified on Friday that Tony Gupta told him that the Guptas had such a close relationship with Zuma that he sang the song at their parties on request.
Mkwanazi testified that in January 2011 he received a call from Tony Gupta. Gupta said he got the number from Malusi Gigabe, a former minister. He was asked to go to the Guptas’ house in Saxonwold.
Zuma’s son Duduzane and Tony Gupta were there when he arrived, he testified.
Gupta cited all sorts of examples to him of the close friendship between the Guptas and Zuma.
Gupta said Zuma even sang “Umshini wami” at their request.
Mkwanazi said he was unhappy about it and thought they were abusing the president’s name.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, commission chairman, asked on Mkwanazi’s testimony about the singing if it happened at their home.
Mkwanazi testified Gupta said it happened at some of their parties.
According to Mkwanazi, Gupta also tried to point out that they are friends with cabinet ministers and members of parliament. In his opinion, they wanted to show that they are important people.
It did not intimidate him, Mkwanazi said.
Gupta wanted Mkwanazi to help Transnet’s advertising budget go to the Guptas’ media projects.
Mkwanazi explained that procurement is not handled by a member of the Transnet board, but by the executive management of Transnet.
He testified that Gupta did not respond much to it.
“They had no idea how things work. They treated Transnet as a spaza shop where one can just go and pick out goodies. They had no business protocol, “Mkwanazi testified. This is why he explained to them how the procurement process at Transnet works.
Mkwanazi testified Gupta said Zuma visited their home almost weekly.
According to him, Duduzane did not say a single word.
Mkwanazi asked him if the people were telling the truth about the Guptas’ friendship with his father. “It was the only time he opened his mouth to confirm it,” Mkwanazi testified.
On this, Zondo referred to the testimony of Mcebisi Jonas in which he mentioned there was also a Gupta brother with Duduzane Zuma when he was invited to the Guptas’ house in Saxonwold. Jonas also testified that Duduzane did not say much.
“Yes, he was exceptionally quiet,” Mkwanazi said.
Mkwanazi testified that, according to him, the first meeting did not go well, he insisted on a second meeting so that the Guptas could repeat their request in front of a witness and employee of Transnet.
After that, he did not have direct contact with Tony Gupta again.