I am not Zuma's friend, says Shabangu
Pretoria - Property tycoon Roux Shabangu on Friday denied that he was a friend of President Jacob Zuma and that it was the department of public works who approached him in connection with a controversial building lease.
Speaking at a press conference in Irene in Pretoria, Shabangu said a lawyer who had sent the Sunday Times a letter claiming he was a friend of Zuma's had had her services terminated.
Referring to the R500m lease of the Middestad building in Pretoria to the police, Shabangu said he had been approached by public works officials. He did not say who specifically in the department had approached him.I am not Zuma’s friend, says Shabangu
"They came to us, but referred by the previous owners. That's how the deal landed in our hands."
The deal was sharply criticised by the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela earlier this year.
She found National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele guilty of maladministration and criticised Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for going ahead with the deal despite receiving legal advice to the contrary.
Shabangu said there was a perception about businessmen that "if he's black, he must be connected to government officials".
As far as Shabangu was concerned, the Middestad deal was valid and that he was not responsible for the department of public works not following processes.