No family business with govt: Cosatu

By Drum Digital
13 March 2012

Relatives of public representatives and trade unions should not do any business with the government, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Tuesday.

"This will avoid a conflict of interest and the temptation to utilise leadership positions in government to directly benefit families and relatives of the leaders concerned," the union federation's spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.

Cosatu was reacting to reports of bribery allegations made against Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's partner Gugu Mtshali.

"Without speculating about Ms Mtshali's guilt or innocence, Cosatu wishes to state that such reports vindicate our long held position about relations between business and government leaders."

According to a report in this weekend's Sunday Times, Mtshali had allegedly been involved in soliciting a R104 million bribe from a South African aviation company, in exchange for government support. This was part of a R2 billion deal that involved selling US-made helicopters to Iran, via South Africa, in violation of UN sanctions.

Mtshali, former De Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga and others allegedly met representatives of 360 Aviation to solicit the bribe.

The Sunday Times claimed to have an audio recording of the meeting, on which Mtshali's voice was allegedly heard. The alleged deal reportedly failed because 360 Aviation could not reach an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company.

Motlanthe has asked the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate.

Earlier, Madonsela's spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said the protector was assessing whether she had jurisdiction to investigate the allegations.

"She is not investigating, she is assessing the request," Masibi said.

Motlanthe's office released a statement at the weekend, which read: "Both Deputy President Motlanthe and Ms Mtshali are firmly of the view that they have committed no wrongdoing of any kind in relation to the alleged events described in the Sunday Times story."

Motlanthe's office said the allegations were serious and needed investigation.

"Having regard to the serious nature of the allegations and imputations of the story, Deputy President Motlanthe is of the view that the issues should be subject to an investigation by the Public Protector.

he deputy president and Ms Mtshali will make themselves available to provide any information to the Public Protector should she decide to investigate the allegations."

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