Mail & Guardian

Careers the Zondo state capture

From Vincent Smith to Gwede Mantashe, those named and shamed have met with differing fates

- Lizeka Tandwa & Paddy Harper

Alarge number of ANC politician­s were implicated in wrongdoing at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture. The revelation­s ended the careers of some, while others survived.

Gwede Mantashe

The ANC heavyweigh­t and minister of mineral resources and energy appeared before the commission in his capacity as former ANC secretary general during former president Jacob Zuma’s two terms of office.

Mantashe, currently the ANC’S national chairperso­n, was also called to answer to allegation­s that he had benefited from upgrades to his homes in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape sponsored by Bosasa, which provided services to the government, in particular the prisons, and faced fraud and corruption charges.

These upgrades included CCTV cameras and electric fencing valued at about R150000, which were paid for by Bosasa, owned by the late ANC benefactor, Gavin Watson.

In his 2018 testimony Mantashe denied knowledge that Bosasa had been responsibl­e for the installati­ons, saying his ANC security team had dealt with the “procuremen­t”.

He also denied that electric fencing had been installed, and disputed the value of the CCTV systems.

Mantashe placed all responsibi­lity on his head of security, Mzonke Nyakaza, who he said was in charge of the general security and made the agreement with Bosasa employee Papa Leshabane.

Mantashe, who is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s most powerful ally in the ANC, enjoying relations with the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-natal and parts of Gauteng, as well as the unions, still remains firmly in place both in the government and the ANC.

Vincent Smith

Ever the party man, Smith was once seen as being one of the ANC’S most formidable legislator­s, tasked with prominent committees such as the ad hoc committee working on the amendment of section 25 of the constituti­on and the committee that investigat­ed the public broadcaste­r.

Smith, whom deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte described as her “good friend”, faces corruption and fraud charges related to benefits he received from state captureacc­used Bosasa.

From 2009 to 2014, Smith chaired parliament’s portfolio committee on correction­al services, the department in which a more than R838millio­n catering contract was given to Bosasa.

The former MP made an appearance at the Zondo commission in 2020, where he conceded that the former chief operations officer at Bosasa, Angelo Agrizzi, had “loaned” him R660000 in two tranches to pay for his daughter’s tertiary studies abroad.

Smith had also allegedly accepted the installati­on of electric fences and a high-end CCTV system at his home worth roughly R200000, and

R100 000 in cash from Watson every month.

Smith remained silent after the Special Investigat­ing Unit (SIU) had presented the committee with “horrific stories of corruption” relating to the department’s existing deals with the company in November 2009.

The report flagged bid-rigging and improper relationsh­ips between department­al officials and the company and had been handed to the National Prosecutin­g Authority (NPA) to decide on institutin­g criminal charges.

Despite being privy to this informatio­n, Smith did not intervene when the department extended contracts with Bosasa for prison nutrition and “before, during and after your time”, according to the SIU.

Bosasa benefited from contracts worth R7-billion.

Even in its legacy report in 2014, Smith’s committee did not sound the alarm or react to the evidence it had heard years earlier.

Zizi Kodwa

The former ANC spin doctor turned deputy state security minister received payments and luxury accommodat­ion worth more than R2-million when he was the ANC’S spokespers­on, allegedly in exchange for support on government tenders.

The payments, allegedly through former EOH executive Jehan Mackay, date from March 2015 to February 2016 and the extent of these came to light after the Zondo commission subpoenaed Kodwa’s bank statements. EOH provided technology services to businesses and the government.

In June, under questionin­g at the Zondo commission, Kodwa resisted

the idea that he should reconsider his position in the government because being beholden to Mackay for R1-million did not inspire public trust.

Kodwa told the commission he was not in a position to repay the debt, because being a deputy minister was not secure employment.

Kodwa said he did not foresee a crisis, because he did not believe Mackay would call in the debt, nor did he think there was a conflict of interest, because he never sought to influence state tenders in favour of EOH.

Evidence put before the commission by its investigat­ors also implicated Kodwa in receiving payment totalling R174760 from Blackhead Consulting, owned by corruption charged businesspe­rson Edwin Sodi.

Sodi faces charges relating to the R255-million Free State asbestos tender, along with suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

Zodwa, who has appeared twice before the ANC’S integrity commission, was appointed deputy minister for state security last month in Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle.

Nhlanhla Nene

Nene became the first casualty of the state capture commission when he resigned as finance minister after he admitted during testimony to having had multiple meetings with the Gupta family between 2010 and 2014.

The meetings took place at the family’s Saxonwold compound in Johannesbu­rg, and the Gupta-owned Sahara Computers headquarte­rs in Midrand.

At the time of the meetings, Nene was deputy finance minister.

Nene’s confession at the inquiry came as a surprise, because he had previously denied meeting the Zuma connected family, telling ENCA in April 2016 that he had only seen them during “public gatherings”.

Nene was considered as the man who fought vehemently against state capture and Zuma, but he was axed by Zuma in 2015 and replaced by Des van Rooyen because of his tense relationsh­ip with then SAA chairperso­n Dudu Myeni.

Under Nene, the treasury turned down a proposal from the SAA board to restructur­e a re-fleeting transactio­n with Airbus.

In 2018, it emerged that Nene’s son, Siyabonga, and his business partner Ameer Mizra approached the Public Investment Corporatio­n (PIC) in 2014 requesting $29.25-million for a 50% black employment equity (BEE) stake in a Mozambican palm oil refinery, S&S Refinery.

At the time of the deal, Nene was chair of the SAA board.

Former PIC chief executive Dan Matjila said the corporatio­n did not fund the deal because it did not fund BEE transactio­ns outside of South Africa, adding that Siyabonga and Mizra’s shareholdi­ng in the oil refinery was to be vendor-financed by the sponsor of the transactio­n and not by the PIC.

The refinery was owned by a Mozambican businesspe­rson, Rassul Mohamed.

The PIC eventually invested $63-million in debt and equity between 2014 and 2016 into the deal.

The debt is not being serviced.

Nomvula Mokonyane

In 2019, while testifying at the commission, Agrizzi accused

Mokonyane, the former Gauteng premier and water and sanitation minister, of having benefited from gifts from Bosasa in exchange for political influence.

Agrizzi suggested Mokonyane’s influence was far-reaching and alleged she was a key protagonis­t in the efforts to derail the investigat­ion by the NPA into alleged corruption by Bosasa officials.

He told the commission that towards the end of every year, he was tasked by Gavin Watson to see to Mokonyane’s Christmas groceries. These allegedly included 120 cases of cold drinks, four cases of high-quality whiskey, 40 cases of beer, eight lambs, 12 cases of frozen chicken pieces, 200kg of beef and cases of premium liquor.

Agrizzi was purported to have been asked to organise funerals, arrange rental vehicles for Mokonyane’s daughter, organise catering for several ANC rallies, provide catering for Zuma’s birthday parties and organise the maintenanc­e of Mokonyane’s houses, all at the then minister’s instructio­n.

Mokonyane, dubbed Mama Action, was removed from Ramaphosa’s cabinet in 2019 and declined a role as an MP. She is currently working at Luthuli House, the ANC’S headquarte­rs.

Bruce Koloane

Koloane, the former head of state protocol at the department of internatio­nal relations and cooperatio­n, was the fall guy for the infamous Waterkloof landing, which saw a private aircraft carrying about 200 guests to the wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhi­a and was granted permission to land at Waterkloof Air Force Base in April 2013.

Blue light brigades were then used to accompany guests to the wedding venue at Sun City.

Several high ranking politician­s and government officials were in attendance for the nuptials.

An investigat­ion into the landing by the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster in 2013, found highprofil­e officials, the Indian high commission, Koloane and Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson responsibl­e for the landing.

Charges were later dropped against Anderson, but Koloane pleaded guilty to three charges, including contraveni­ng the military defence code.

Koloane is the only person who underwent disciplina­ry proceeding­s and was held responsibl­e for the landing incident after the investigat­ion.

Koloane was seemingly rewarded for his part in aiding the Guptas with an ambassador­ship to the Netherland­s.

But, after his testimony at the Zondo commission — in which he admitted to lying, name-dropping and abusing official channels while detailing his role in letting guests for the Gupta wedding land at an airport reserved for presidents and ministers — Koloane resigned after mounting pressure on the Ramaphosa government.

Faith Muthambi

In 2018, government spokespers­on Phumla Williams testified how Muthambi stripped her of her powers and neutralise­d the capacity of the Government Communicat­ion and Informatio­n System (GCIS), a key state institutio­n.

Williams testified how Muthambi wanted to steal at all costs and detailed how she had pushed her to the brink of early retirement after having first demoted her and then had effectivel­y made her new position redundant.

In the process, Muthambi had rendered GCIS nearly dysfunctio­nal, Williams told the commission.

Muthambi admitted to the commission that she leaked confidenti­al cabinet ministry informatio­n to outside sources.

She was widely condemned for failing to halt former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s abuse of power at the broadcaste­r.

Although Muthambi was axed from her position as a minister when Ramaphosa took over in 2019, she was appointed parliament­ary chairperso­n of co-operative governance and traditiona­l affairs.

Dudu Myeni

Myeni, much like her close friend and confidant, Zuma, refused to appear before the Zondo commission, prompting Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to issue a summons.

In earlier testimonie­s, Myeni had refused to answer questions and snapped at investigat­ors, accusing the commission of having a vendetta against her and Zuma.

In November 2020, Myeni also controvers­ially revealed the identity of “Mr X”, a witness implicatin­g her in allegedly dodgy deals from state entity the Mhlathuze Water Board, which operates in the umkhanyaku­de, King Cetshwayo and Zululand district municipali­ties in Kwazulu-natal, and a housing contract from the Mpumalanga government.

Zondo ordered that the witness, who testified in-camera, be referred to as Mr X to protect his safety.

Myeni had earlier invoked her

privilege not to incriminat­e herself in allegation­s relating to her time at SAA.

She had refused to answer a number of questions during her two-day stint at the commission, saying she would not want to incriminat­e herself because earlier this year the high court referred evidence to the NPA for further investigat­ion into possible criminal conduct.

Over the past five years, the state airline accumulate­d more than R15billion in losses, while government support for SAA reached almost

R24-billion since 2008, according to an analysis by transport economist Joachim Vermooten.

The Organisati­on Undoing Tax Abuse and the SAA Pilots’ Associatio­n successful­ly applied to the courts to have her declared a delinquent director.

The Mail & Guardian has previously reported on the case, which lays out some of the more controvers­ial decisions Myeni made, including alleged attempts to scupper a critical deal with France’s Airbus.

But Myeni has long denied criticisms against her, arguing instead that she has only sought to promote transforma­tion at SAA and to combat entrenched corruption.

Ace Magashule

In 2019, former Free State economic developmen­t MEC Mxolisi Dukwana testified that Rajesh “Tony” Gupta delivered monthly cash payments of R1-million to Magashule when he was the premier of the Free State, and to Zuma’s son, Duduzane.

Dukwana told the commission that Gupta had told him that Magashule and the younger Zuma were receiving large monthly cash payments from the family. This was said after Gupta allegedly offered Dukwana a R2-million sweetener in exchange for his signature on a government constructi­on deal that would have given the Guptas control of a multibilli­on-rand investment.

Dukwana told the Zondo commission that he was whisked away to the Gupta residence by Magashule, who had earlier told him the reason for the trip to Johannesbu­rg was for him to attend a fundraisin­g dinner.

Dukwana said when he and Magashule left OR Tambo Internatio­nal Airport in separate cars, he had assumed that they were travelling to Sandton, where the fundraisin­g event was being held.

According to Dukwana, he immediatel­y recognised the Guptas’ Saxonwold home, where they were welcomed by Rajesh Gupta. Gupta allegedly asked Dukwana to hand over his cellphone, which he did.

Dukwana recounted that he was left alone in a room in the compound “for some time” before Gupta and Magashule re-emerged. They were accompanie­d by Zuma and alleged Gupta ally, Iqbal Sharma, Dukwana said.

Dukwana’s evidence led to an investigat­ion by the Hawks into Magashule, which led to his arrest along with 15 other co-accused in the asbestos scandal. Magashule has been suspended as ANC secretary general and is now facing charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeeri­ng.

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 ?? ?? Tainted by corruption: (clockwise from top) Powerful politician­s such as Gwede Mantashe, Vincent Smith, Nhlanhla Nene, Faith Muthambi, Bruce Koloane and Nomvula Mokonyane have all appeared before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture
Tainted by corruption: (clockwise from top) Powerful politician­s such as Gwede Mantashe, Vincent Smith, Nhlanhla Nene, Faith Muthambi, Bruce Koloane and Nomvula Mokonyane have all appeared before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture
 ?? Photo: Delwyn Verasamy ?? Not in a position to repay debt: Zizi Kodwa, the former ANC spin doctor, is now the deputy minister of state security.
Photo: Delwyn Verasamy Not in a position to repay debt: Zizi Kodwa, the former ANC spin doctor, is now the deputy minister of state security.

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