Former mineral resources minister to testify at Zondo commission

2018-11-28 07:09
Ngoako Ramatlhodi. (File)

Ngoako Ramatlhodi. (File)

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Former department of mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi will be the fourth minister who served under former president Jacob Zuma to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday.

News24 understands Ramatlhodi and his former adviser and spokesperson advocate Mahlodi Muofhe have been asked to take the stand this week. Ramatlhodi, who was appointed minister of mineral resources by Zuma following the 2014 national elections, was moved to the public administration and services portfolio the following year.

He was replaced by well-known Gupta associate Mosebenzi Zwane. The former minister who was axed again in 2017 described that Cabinet reshuffle, which took place in the middle of the night, as a "blessing in disguise" because it gave South Africans a glimpse into just who they were dealing with. Ramatlhodi also previously claimed he turned down numerous requests by the former president's son, Duduzane Zuma, to meet with the Gupta family during his tenure at the department of mineral resources.

READ: Government, it's not for me - Ramatlhodi

The controversial family has been accused of having undue influence over Zuma, his executive and some state-owned enterprises, and using it to loot billions from South Africa's coffers.

It is alleged that Zwane was appointed at the behest of the Guptas and that his CV was sent to the family a month before Zuma appointed him as minister.

The former minister had also been placed at the centre of the sale of optimum coal mine by Glencore to the Gupta's Tegeta exploration and resources.

ALSO READ: Department of Mineral Resources to approach state capture inquiry

Muofhe, who is now the chief governance officer of the Special Investigating Unit, is also expected to share his version of events and to shed some light on rumours that he was once destined to head up the National Prosecuting Authority, before Shaun Abrahams was appointed.

Zuma was believed to have been fighting with then head of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana, fearing that he would go after him over allegations of corruption linked to the arms deal. Nxasana's apparent fractured relationship with one of his deputies, Nomgcobo Jiba, was also an issue.

READ: Concourt finds Abrahams' appointment as NPA boss unconstitutional and invalid

Abrahams' appointment has since been declared unlawful and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Zuma, is currently searching for a new head of public prosecutions. 

While Jiba, along with advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, is the subject of an inquiry led by former Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro to investigate their fitness to hold office, Zuma is before the High Court in Pietermaritzburg over the corruption charges.

Muofhe confirmed to News24 that he had submitted a statement to the state capture commission.

"Yes, it's true. I have been requested to come and testify, I will appear," Muofhe told News24.

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