Corruption probe not a plot - KZN ANC
Durban - The probe into two KwaZulu-Natal ANC leaders is not a political plot to discredit them ahead of the ruling party’s elective conferences, the party's provincial leader said on Tuesday.
“The investigations have been ongoing for a long time. To link it to ANC processes is opportunistic and mischievous,” Dr Zweli Mkhize said.
Mkhize spoke to Sapa on Tuesday following reports that the imminent arrest of ANC leaders Mike Mabuyakhulu and Peggy Nkonyeni on corruption-related charges was politically motivated.
It has been reported that the looming arrest of the two leaders is part of a larger campaign to ensure Mkhize retains his position at the ANC's provincial conference at the end of the year.
Mkhize said it was a blatant lie that he or any other ANC leaders were behind this.
“What has happened is that I was requested by the Hawks in September last year to make statements to clarify issues relating to my line function when it [corruption] allegedly happened,” he said.
There had been no subsequent meetings between Mkhize and the Hawks or any other law enforcement agencies regarding the case or the statement he gave in.
“To this end, there has been no communication whatsoever - which serves as a notice that the State intends to call me as a State witness,” he said.
Mkhize said he had made the statement to the Hawks because “as leaders they all had the responsibility to co-operate with law enforcement agencies and to enable the system of justice to be effected without hindrance”.
It was not true that he wanted to testify against his own comrades.
“We are taking this case very seriously as government and as the ANC. It is a very sensitive and complex case,” he said.
The State alleges there was corruption, money laundering and tender fraud in KwaZulu-Natal’s department of health when Nkonyeni was the MEC.
Mabuyakhulu was the ANC's provincial treasurer when Cape Town businessman and billionaire Gaston Savoi who was involved in a multimillion rand tender donated R1m to the ANC.
Warrants of arrests for the two leaders were issued early this month and they are expected to be arrested soon.
Other prominent accused are suspended head of Ithala Development Finance Corporation, Sipho Shabalala; his wife Beatrice Ntombenhle Shabalala and former provincial health boss Busisiwe Nyembezi.
The case relates to the awarding of contracts by the departments of health and local government for water purification plants and oxygen machines.
The state alleges that Savoi’s Intaka Holdings fraudulently secured the deals after colluding with certain officials. He then allegedly inflated his prices and gave kickbacks in return.
Mkhize said the allegations that he or other ANC leaders were involved in a plot was aimed at creating divisions within the ANC ahead of regional and provincial elective conferences this year.
It has been reported that Mabuyakhulu, who is originally from Ngwavuma in the North Coast region, and his supporters want him to stand for the regional chairperson position at the upcoming regional conferences. If successful, the report stated, they expect him to use the position as a springboard to challenge Mkhize for leadership of the province later this year.
Mkhize said he was also concerned about the leaks by which information from law enforcement agencies was gained by the media.
“It happens in cases where those whose names are tarnished are not at liberty to respond. This equals to a trial by the media,” said Mkhize.
Commenting on the state of the ANC in the province, Mkhize said elections at all levels of the organisation tended to be associated with tensions.
“The ANC has always dealt with these issues and managed to reconcile its members and ensure that the healing process is embarked upon since this is part of the democratic nature of the organisation,” he said.
The ANC remained a stable organisation despite all the tensions. “In the past elections, the ANC has noticed the severity of the problem and has put in place mechanisms to deal with it.”