Backpack with cash, trips to Gupta residence: Brian Molefe’s ex-bodyguard testifies

Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

A former bodyguard to Brian Molefe has testified how he used to drive Molefe, who was then Transnet CEO, to the Saxonwold residence of the Gupta family on several occasions.

The ex-bodyguard, whose identity was hidden and who was only referred to as “Witness 1,” gave his testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday.

‘Meetings with Ajay Gupta’

He said he was Molefe’s bodyguard from 2011 until 2014, during which he claimed he drove Molefe to Saxonwold, Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice in Melrose Arch and Sahara Computer offices to meet Ajay Gupta.

“Witness 1” claimed Molefe often carried a light brown backpack when he visited the Guptas. When he didn’t have this backpack with him, he often returned from his meetings with a brown sports bag, the witness claimed, adding, “The bag was filled up with something.”

The witness recalled that on one occasion, Molefe sent him to fetch a cellphone from his backpack. When he opened the backpack, he claimed he found bundles of R200 notes “about 30cm high.”

He said he later pointed out to Molefe that it was a “security risk” to leave the cash unattended. “Mr Molefe was visibly upset with my comment. He said it is none of my business what is in his bag,” the witness claimed.

“Witness 1” also recalled depositing cash, ranging from R5,000 to R20,000, for Molefe into various bank accounts around Carlton Centre in Johannesburg.

Death threats

He told the inquiry that he had received at least three death threats aimed at discouraging him from cooperating with the inquiry. He received SMS messages in April 2019, June 2019 and January 2020 conveying the threats, he said.

One of the messages stated, “We are fully aware that you are about to give evidence at Zondo commission again and you have intimidated other bodyguards to give testimony. We are sorry to inform you that you are being used and you are on your own.

“Who do you think you are? Stop it with your moronic superman behaviour. We are watching your every move [and] conversations, so act sensibly and give this matter your most urgent attention. When we are done with you, your family won’t find a piece of you.”

Another witness, “Witness 2,” similarly told the inquiry that he drove Siyabonga Gama, who was CEO of Transnet’s Freight Rail division before becoming GCEO, to Saxonwold.

On one occasion, he said he saw Molefe, who was by then Eskom CEO, and former Transnet Engineering chief executive Thamsanqa Jiyane at the residence as he waited for Gama.

“Witness 2” further claimed bags and suitcases containing cash were put in the boot of Gama’s car on various occasions. The inquiry continues.

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