Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has challenged former president Jacob Zuma to provide proof that he was ever an apartheid spy.
On Monday, Zuma, who is appearing before the state capture commission of inquiry for the first time, named Ramatlhodi as a spy "who was recruited in Lesotho", drawing gasps from the public gallery.
Zuma twice referred to Ramatlhodi's own comments to the commission in November last year, when he accused Zuma of having "auctioned" the country to the Gupta family.
When contacted by News24, Ramatlhodi was hesitant to comment at first and said he would wait until Zuma had finalised his testimony at which stage he would apply to cross-examine him.
But when pushed, he denied ever being a spy and said he was "very much ready" to subject himself to a lie detector test - and would challenge Zuma to do the same.
"It will not go uncontested. He must prove it. If he is alleging it, he must prove it. I have never been a spy anywhere. I don't want to be speaking about this thing in the media," he said.
"I want him to do his thing, I am going to put him through a lie detector and I am going to go through the lie detector before the commission - both of us," Ramatlhodi said.
"There is technology today that can deal with these things. I am ready. I am very much ready," he added.
Ramatlhodi said Zuma was "angry with me for telling the truth" and that Zuma himself must have been a spy if he was one.
Zuma alluded to the fact that he knew that Ramatlhodi was an alleged spy for some time, but remained silent on this and worked with him. Ramatlhodi had even served in the office of OR Tambo during exile in Lusaka, ANC insiders told News24.
Seemingly despite this, Zuma on three occasions appointed Ramatlhodi to positions in his Cabinet: Deputy Minister of Correctional Services - November 2010 to May 2014; Minister of Mineral Resources - May 2014 to September 2015; and Minister of Public Service and Administration - September 2015 to March 2017.
Ramatlhodi was replaced by Mosebenzi Zwane as mineral resources minister. He told the commission previously he had met with Zuma, who had congratulated him and said he was promoting him to public service.
Ramatlhodi described the promotion as a "punishment", saying it was a way of sending a message. When he was removed, a "Gupta minister" came in, he said.
Read this report on News24Wire.com.
AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.
Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.
AllAfrica is a voice of, by and about Africa - aggregating, producing and distributing 600 news and information items daily from over 150 African news organizations and our own reporters to an African and global public. We operate from Cape Town, Dakar, Abuja, Monrovia, Nairobi and Washington DC.