At a media briefing in February, Mbalula confirmed evidence from former Cabinet Minister Trevor Manuel that he had been informed about his appointment as Sports Minister by one of Gupta brothers, the family alleged to have wielded significant influence over former President Jacob Zuma and gained lucrative state contracts through this relationship.

Manuel testified that an emotional Mbalula rose to his feet during an ANC NEC meeting in 2011 and confessed before the party top brass that one of the Guptas had informed him beforehand of the appointment.

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Mbalula allegedly only made the confession almost a year after being appointed Minister of Sports and Recreation, having been a Deputy Minister of Police. Manuel said Zuma was present during this confession but did not react.

Mbalula later told a media briefing that Manuel’s testimony was true, adding that he would appear before the commission to “amplify the truth”.

– African News Agency