Zwane on dairy farm: 'I just played an oversight role'

2018-01-26 22:37
Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Pic: Gallo Images)

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. (Pic: Gallo Images)

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Magashule: No secret my son works for Guptas

2018-01-22 18:04

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on Monday said it was no secret that his son worked for the controversial Gupta family, but insisted that he is not involved in the Vrede dairy farm debacle. WATCH

Pretoria – "Remember, you are not guilty before you are convicted in court." This is what Mosebenzi Zwane, the beleaguered Minister of Mineral Resources, said in an interview on Friday with eNCA.

Zwane said at the Swartklip Platinum Mine, near Northam, in the North West, that he wouldn't allow his name to be "unnecessarily dragged through the mud".

He said he supported an investigation by the Hawks into a Gupta-linked Vrede dairy farm and would cooperate if required to, but that as far as he knows, he has done nothing wrong.

When the former Free State MEC for agriculture was asked about his involvement in the Vrede dairy project, he said he was only involved as MEC in an oversight role.

Zwane's former office at the Free State's department of agriculture was one of the locations that were searched during raids by the Hawks on Friday, Netwerk24 reported.

The office of Free State Premier Ace Magashule was also raided.

Two specialised units of the Hawks were searching for specific documents and electronic data linked to the case, spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed to News24.

The Free State government said in a statement, just after midday, that it would cooperate fully with all investigations into the alleged impropriety at the farm.

The National Prosecuting Authority is investigating allegations that the provincial government paid R220m to the Guptas in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit labelled "a scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

READ: 'Let the Hawks do their job' - ANC on Magashule raids

Zwane was accompanied by North West premier Supra Mahumapelo. Both of them are allies of President Jacob Zuma and supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's presidential campaign last year. Mahumapelo, who stood next to Zwane during the interview, defended him, describing him as a soldier in the fight against poverty.

"It is opportunistic, it is wrong of people to ask for the removal of the secretary-general of the ANC (Magashule) because of what is happening today. Only once someone is found guilty must they vacate their post. Mahumapelo earlier said during his speech at the mine: "Zwane must stay focused and fearlessly implement the ANC's national democratic revolution."

The law must take its course, but state institutions must not be used to settle political disputes, he said.

At the ANC's 54th national conference in Johannesburg last month, a resolution was passed that anyone suspected of being involved in fraud or corruption must appear before the party's integrity committee and vacate their post in the ANC and government.

When eNCA's Samkelo Maseko asked Zwane if he was a corrupt politician, Zwane said he has been a supporter of the ANC's fight against corruption.

"I am also one of the people who supported the idea that someone was not guilty until they are found guilty in a court." He said that if he is found guilty or implicated, he will be a loyal cadre of the ANC and "do the right thing".

Read more on:    hawks  |  ace maga­shule  |  mosebenzi zwane

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