ANC to return fraud-linked donation

2010-08-31 15:35

Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said it would return the R1m donation it received from a man investigated for a R200m tender fraud, if it found the money was obtained through corrupt deeds.

"The money will be returned to the donor if we find that it was obtained through illegal or corrupt activities," ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala told reporters in Durban on Tuesday.

The ANC admitted it received a R1m donation from a businessman, Uruguayan national Gaston Savoi, who was arrested together with seven other people last week in connection with the R200m tender fraud.

The crimes relate to alleged defrauding of the KwaZulu-Natal health department by inflating the prices of water purification equipment for hospitals.

Zikalala said his organisation, like all other organisations, received donations from different people or organisations.

“We don’t ask our donors where they got the money from if they donate to us,” he said.

He said the ANC had resolved to allow all the court process to take place before taking a decision.

Zikalala said the issue of fundraising for the ANC would be extensively discussed during the party’s provincial general council in Durban on September 3.

ANC provincial head of communication Makhosi Khoza said her organisation was not happy with the perception that the ANC was soft on corruption.

“People must know that people are arrested because the measures put in place by the ANC government to fight corruption,” she said.

Other people arrested for the tender fraud were former KwaZulu-Natal health department head Dr Busi Nyembezi, former procurement officer Mdu Ntshangase and provincial legislature's current chief financial officer, Sipho Buthelezi.

Businessmen Fernando Praderi (also a Uruguayan national), Ansano Romani, Donald Miller and Ronald Geddes, were also arrested. They are all out on bail.

Praderi was a director of Intaka at the time the offence was allegedly committed.

Miller was the sales and marketing manager for Grotto Defrancheschi (Pty) Ltd, the company that developed purification plants for Intaka.

Geddes owned Imvuso Stainless CC, which allegedly supplied one of the quotations which formed part of the fraud charges.

Assets for Ithala Development Finance Corporation chief executive Sipho Shabalala were also seized when the eight people were arrested.

Shabalala's assets, including the City Royal Hotel in Pietermaritzburg, his Othandweni farm, Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz were seized.

Shabalala has not been arrested but Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu on Friday announced the Ithala chief had been suspended following reports of a criminal investigation against him.

Zikalala said the ANC welcomed Shabalala’s suspension, saying that it affirmed government’s commitment to tackling corruption.