The state capture report, compiled by former public protector Thuli Madonsela before she left office casts a bucketload of aspersions against the government of president Jacob Zuma. However, the 335-page report, which South Africans are still combing through, has already presented one sliver of hope in the person of deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report lent an air of fact to rumors that centered around Zuma, his son Duduzane Zuma, and the Guptas. One of such revelations in the report were interviews which confirmed that the Gupta had a hand in President Zuma’s finance minister shuffle last year which affected the country’s currency negatively.
The sliver of hope referred to earlier came in the form of deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, detailing how he turned down an offer by the powerful Gupta family to become the country’s next finance minister.
The disreputable Guptas allegedly offered him 600 million rand (about $44 million) to be the country’s finance minister. In his interview with Thuli Mandonsela, Mcebisi Jonas said that he had agreed to meet with president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma on Oct. 23 last year, a few months before then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was dismissed.
When Mcebis Jonas met with Duduzane Zuma on the said date, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank, the younger Zuma had allegedly asked if they could move to a more private location for discussions “with a third party.”
It was at that point that Mcebisi Jonas was taken to the Gupta compound in the suburb of Saxonwold where they were joined by Ajay Gupta, the eldest of the Gupta brothers. Jonas was then informed by Ajay Gupta that they were going to make him minister of finance, to which Jonas replied that only the president had the power to make that decision.
As Mcebisi Jonas stood up to take his leave, Ajay Gupta allegedly made a further offer of R600 million to be deposited in an account of his choice. He actually asked if Mr. Jonas had a bag which he could use to receive and carry R600,000 in cash immediately; Mcebisi Jonas declined.
Praise for the deputy finance minister is being piled high on social media mixed in with a healthy amount of disbelief that he could turn down 600 million rand.