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CityPress - - Voices - Bantu Holomisa: The Game Changer by Eric Naki Pi­cador Africa 352 pages R285 at takealot.com

Bantu Holomisa’s pre­sen­ta­tion to the TRC [on May 22 1996] was much an­tic­i­pated and there was a huge me­dia pres­ence at the Great Cen­te­nary Hall in New Brighton, Port El­iz­a­beth. His sub­mis­sion and the rev­e­la­tions of cor­rup­tion which it con­tained cre­ated a great sen­sa­tion. Af­ter he fin­ished his tes­ti­mony and handed over the se­cret files to the TRC chair­per­son, Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu, Holomisa left the gath­er­ing. This would not be the end of the story for him.

Ac­cord­ing to the party, Holomisa’s ac­tions put the ANC into dis­re­pute be­cause Stella Sig­cau was an NEC mem­ber and min­is­ter in Man­dela’s Cabi­net. Holomisa was crit­i­cised for not tak­ing the mat­ter to the ANC lead­er­ship or the party’s Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mit­tee or one of his Cabi­net col­leagues. But he was adamant that he had no­ti­fied Man­dela in ad­vance about his tes­ti­mony and that Mbeki was aware of it too, yet nei­ther had con­tacted him and tried to stop him.

On Au­gust 4 1996, Holomisa was hauled be­fore the party’s na­tional dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee, chaired by Pro­fes­sor Kader As­mal, to an­swer for the con­tents of his sub­mis­sion. But he re­fused to ap­pear be­fore what he termed a “kan­ga­roo court” and re­jected the pres­ence of As­mal as chair­man.

He de­manded that the com­mit­tee be chaired by a neu­tral per­son, not by a mem­ber of the current lead­er­ship, as in his view they were all com­pro­mised by the fact that Sol Kerzner had ad­mit­ted to fund­ing the ANC’s elec­tion cam­paign in 1994. As­mal was then re­placed by Dr Zola Sk­weyiya as chair­per­son, and Holomisa sub­se­quently agreed to ap­pear.

But by then the party lead­er­ship had closed ranks against him and a me­dia cam­paign en­sued as the ANC fought him by all means it could muster. He was ex­pelled from the party on Septem­ber 30 1996.

Holomisa and Man­dela did not speak to or see each other for some time af­ter he was shown the door by the party. “We first saw each other again when he in­vited me to his house at Qunu. I re­garded this as an op­por­tu­nity to hear from him per­son­ally what he had told a ra­dio sta­tion about my case.

“To the ra­dio in­ter­viewer Man­dela had said that the top two mat­ters that he felt his pres­i­dency had failed to han­dle well were, firstly, the Sara­fina II saga, in which mil­lions of rands were mis­spent by the depart­ment of health on a con­tro­ver­sial HIV/Aids aware­ness play. Madiba pre­sented my dis­ci­plinary hear­ing as the sec­ond is­sue that was not prop­erly dealt with, and said the de­ci­sion was a mis­take. This con­tra­dicted his ear­lier state­ment to the me­dia that no­body was go­ing to apol­o­gise to me for the ANC’s ac­tion.

“Dur­ing our meet­ing at his house in Qunu, I asked him whether his ut­ter­ances on ra­dio meant that as the ANC they were con­ced­ing that they had made a mis­take in ex­pelling me from the party. Af­ter Madiba had fin­ished talk­ing, I re­sponded by say­ing: ‘I ac­cept this con­ces­sion from the ANC, which I view as an apol­ogy from you on the ANC’s be­half. As a re­sult, I am with­draw­ing my court chal­lenge to my ex­pul­sion.’ I de­cided to with­draw as I felt that there was no need to pur­sue it any longer since I had been vin­di­cated.” Holomisa said to Madiba that in the light of this, they should con­tinue with their lives as be­fore and not let the mat­ter af­fect their re­la­tion­ship.

“Let’s con­tinue eat­ing our um­ngqusho and meat to­gether as usual.”

The de­ci­sion to with­draw did not mean that the po­lit­i­cal bat­tle was over. Af­ter he left, a fren­zied

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