The name is believed to be a reference to the premier’s son, Tshepiso Gift Magashule, who has long been said to be close to the family.
Contained in a tranche of leaked e-mails, an Outlook diary entry for October22012 schedules a meeting between “Gift Father” and Tony Gupta in Saxonwold. The Outlook entry was created by Tony Gupta, according to the e-mails.
Magashule’s links to the family are quickly becoming clearer – with the Sunday Times reporting yesterday that both Tsephiso and Thato, Ace’s other son, were treated to an eight-day stay at the super luxurious Oberoi hotel in Dubai, paid for by Gupta company Sahara, in December 2015.
The luxury getaway was little over a year after the Guptas scored nearly R500-million in the Estina dairy farm project in the Free State town of Vrede – the home town of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
At the time Zwane was agriculture MEC and the funds for the dairy farm came from his department.
IfMagashule did meet Gupta in October 2012, the R570-million dairy project kicked off within six months of their sitdown.
The Mail and Guardian reported in February 2014 that Treasury investigators had found the Estina dairy farm project to be “riddled with irregularities”.
It has been revealed in previous exposés by the newspaper that the man in charge of the project was a former IT specialist with little dairy-farming knowledge but who has strong links to the Guptas.
Other e-mails show that Gupta received a request for airtime amounting to R43,000, apparently from Magashule, during the 2014 general election.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that an e-mail was sent to Gupta from an anonymous Gmail address by a former director of the Free State legislature’s institutional support services unit, Moside Motsemme, asking for R120 of airtime for each of the ANC’s 362 Free State agents.
The e-mail reads “as per directive of the FS ANC chairperson”.
The Gmail address then forwards the request to Gupta.
Magashule was not immediately available for comment yesterday, but his spokesman, Tiisetso Makhele, said on Saturday that the premier would not comment.
“The Free State premier has noted the so-called e-mail communications circulating in various media circles,” said Makhele.
“The provincial government has noted that the relevant authorities, including the Hawks, have embarked on investigations which are intended to test the validity and authenticity of such e-mails.
“Until such investigations are concluded the premier shall not respond.”