Magashule’s travel records as premier can’t be trusted, Zondo hears

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Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana testifying at the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Former Free State economic development MEC Mxolisi Dukwana on Friday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that the travel records of Ace Magashule during his tenure as Free State Premier could not be trusted as a supporting document for his evidence against the governing party’s secretary general.

It is expected that Dukwana’s testimony will directly link Magashule to the infamous Gupta family, and the travel records of the former Free State Premier are expected to corroborate the former MEC’s evidence.

Dukwana was due to appear before the commission last week, however, his testimony was postponed because he had not been able to obtain documents from the Free State government – which would support his testimony at the inquiry.

On October 25, 2018, Dukwana filed an urgent application at the high court in Bloemfontein to have the provincial government hand over documents that would corroborate his evidence at the commission.

These include cellphone records for the contact details he used during his time as an MEC; Dukwana’s travel records from that period – 2009 to 2012; as well as his diary, electronic documents such as emails relating to state capture activities in the province; Magashule’s travel records during his tenure as Free State Premier; and a presentation on the establishment of an ICT hub in the province.

Dukwana told the commission on Friday that though he was able to obtain Magashule’s travel records during the ANC secretary general’s tenure as Free State premier, these cannot be trusted because they show that on a certain day that the former premier was to announce a reshuffle of the provincial cabinet, the records show Magashule was elsewhere.

“That is what we got, I don’t think it will be useful,” Dukwana said.

He told the commission that as of February 13, he learned through his legal representation that no judgment had been handed down on his urgent high court application of last year.

Dukwana’s cellphone records from his time as MEC will prove he had discussions with Magashule in relation to the former premier’s request that the former MEC attend a fundraising dinner in Sandton, Johannesburg, that the current ANC secretary general had arranged, he said, adding that the number he used at the time was 082 555 9981.

The travel records during his tenure as MEC will show that on a particular date he travelled to Johannesburg, which would be corroborated by Magashule’s travel records during the latter’s time as premier because they had travelled together.

The presentation into the establishment of an ICT hub in the province would demonstrate why the Guptas sought to get involved in the project, he said.

Dukwana said his diary during his tenure as MEC, which he has not received from the Free State government up to date, would demonstrate that he had not been told prior to the day that Magashule did that he was going to meet the Guptas and that on the said date that the former premier informed him of the trip to Johannesburg, he, Dukwana, called his office to indicate that he would travel to Sandton to attend an ANC fundraising dinner, which would have been recorded as such in the said diary.

“These [electronic] documents, especially the ones that would be coming from my emails and also in my office, the manager of the office and the PA, will demonstrate the discussions that went on between us [and other people],” Dukwana said.

He told the commission that last week he learned that the provincial government had obtained the cellphone records of the incorrect cellphone number, which he found to be strange because, during his tenure as MEC, everyone was aware that people in his position used cell numbers which were similar, beginning with the numbers 082 555.

He said his legal representation was further informed that they would have to apply to get the records for the correct cellphone number.

He said the provincial government handed over the presentation on the establishment of a new city in the province but the one for the ICT hub has not been handed over.

Dukwana said the Free State government said it could not find his diary, adding that though he would appreciate an opportunity to look for it himself, he was of the view it was possible someone might have removed it from the office.

The commission’s evidence leader on Friday, advocate Phillip Mokoena, said efforts to recover the laptop Dukwana used as MEC were underway as well as efforts to obtain the laptop’s hard drive.

Makhosandile Zulu / The Citizen