Zuma 'attending to' Bongo bribe claims

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma met with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to be briefed on allegations that a bribe was offered to Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, the evidence leader of Parliament’s inquiry into Eskom, according to a statement issued on Tuesday.

The Presidency said Mbete briefed Zuma on the "allegations of interference by the Minister of State Security, Mr Bongani Bongo, in the Parliamentary [I]nquiry by the Public Enterprises Committee on the affairs of Eskom".

"President Zuma is attending to the matter," read the statement. 

It did not include further information. 

This weekend The Sunday Times reported that it had seen an affidavit by Vanara, in which he alleged that Bongo had offered him a bribe.

According to the report, Bongo told Vanara he was instructed by Eskom’s interim chairperson Zethembe Khoza to offer the bribe to derail the inquiry.  

Khoza originally denied the allegations to the newspaper. On Monday he reiterated in a statement that he has “never spoken to Mr Bongo, and I have never met him”. 

“I have absolutely no reason why I, or Eskom, would want to collapse the inquiry when we have been calling for such a legally-constituted platform so that we can place facts before the committee,” he said. 

Calls for probe

On Monday the ANC in Parliament said it takes "serious exception to allegations of attempts to collapse this inquiry and derail the work of Parliament". 

It said it would support an investigation into the alleged bribe by Parliament's ethics committee. 

The Democratic Alliance on Sunday said it would write to Mbete to "demand protection for both members of the portfolio committee on public enterprises currently investigating allegations of state capture at Eskom as well as the witnesses appearing before the inquiry".

The committee is not set to hear evidence this week, but will meet on Wednesday to assess what it has heard and consider how to proceed with its inquiry.

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