Fuzile, now CEO at Standard Bank, left Treasury in 2017 after a career spanning 19 years. Former President Jacob Zuma fired Nene in December 2015 and replaced him with backbencher MP Des van Rooyen.

”That evening I received a call from Mr Godongwana, who told me I am going to get a Gupta Minister and new advisers. I asked him to clarify what was happening, he [Godongwana] said I ‘should watch it…my new Minister could come with advisers that I do not know, and that they [advisers] might have been given to him by the Guptas,” Fuzile said.

Evidence leader advocate Vincent Maleka asked Fuzile how he felt after receiving the news. The former Director-General said he did not know then what he came to know later about the influence of the controversial Gupta family and their proximity to Zuma and some of his Cabinet Ministers.

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”When I met one of the gentlemen who was one of the advisers, it hit me like a big rock and I realised the abnormality. For the purposes of reflection, Chairman, one starts the week with trying to prepare a Budget for a country… and then there is an announcement that [higher education] fees would be freezed… no amount for such is set. A director-general of Treasury, I only saw this on TV… it was inappropriate with how civil service works… and then someone calls and says to you – by the way, the person you are getting has been sent by the Guptas.”

A day before Nene’s axing, Fuzile said he received a text from the former minister, which read “the axe has fallen”. He said after Godongwana’s call, and recollecting a conversation he had with former Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas’ bribe offer by the Guptas, he began to ”join the dots”.

Jonas had informed Fuzile that the Guptas requested the removal of senior officials Ismail Momoniat, Kenneth Brown, Andrew Donaldson and Fuzile after Van Rooyen took over from Nene. The officials would all be replaced with new people. Van Rooyen then arrived with two advisers for a weekend stint at Treasury – Ian Whitely and Mohamed Bobat, both linked to the Guptas.

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Fuzile is set to continue giving evidence on Thursday.

– African News Agency