ANC KwaZulu-Natal leader quizzed again over R1m donation he received in cash

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ANC KZN deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu at a prayer meeting at City Hall on 18 April 2021 in Durban.
ANC KZN deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu at a prayer meeting at City Hall on 18 April 2021 in Durban.
PHOTO: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
  • Former ANC KZN leader Michael Mabuyakhulu said he did not receive donations from businessman Gaston Savoi.
  • He added he did not recall being in contact with Sibusisiwe Ngubane-Zulu of Ngubane and Wills Inc regarding the donations he received.
  • Mabuyakhulu said the donation received was delivered in cash.

The ANC's former provincial deputy chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Michael Mabuyakhulu, has once again admitted the party received R1 million in cash for its elective conference in 2008 from the head of provincial treasury, Sipho Shabalala.

The provincial conference took place from 20 to 22 June 2008.

On Tuesday, Mabuyakhulu, who was testifying before the Zondo Commission, said the party had a package of donations and the money received from Shabalala was part of it.

READ | Spotlight on R1 million donation to KZN ANC

Mabuyakhulu, who recently announced he would step aside in line with a national executive committee decision, told the commission he was not aware of the communication that took place between the then-former provincial chairperson of the party, Senzo Mchunu, and Sibusisiwe Ngubane-Zulu of Ngubane and Wills Inc with regards to the confirmation receipt of the R1 million donation received from Shabalala. 

In the affidavit by Ngubane-Zulu, she said she explained to Mchunu what the criminal investigation was about and that it related to a donation.

Mchunu then contacted Mabuyakhulu directly requesting that he provide the information concerning the donation to Ngubane-Zulu. 

However, Mabuyakhulu said he could not recall having been in contact with Ngubane-Zulu, adding the consultations he had around 2010 were with the same firm but it was not Ngubane-Zulu.

READ | KwaZulu-Natal ANC leader Mike Mabuyakhulu heads to trial in September

"I can't recall that in that particular context. I do recall, however, that I was able to have a communication with Ngubane and Wills Incorporate. And in my own memory, that communication happened with one of the partners in the firm, that was Mr John Wills. I absolutely don't have a recollection of being in contact with Mrs Ngubane," he added.

Mabuyakhulu said he made it clear he received money from Tshabalala who said he would assist after the party appealed for donations before for its elective conference.

He added:

I made it clear that I was the person who had received money and I detailed that I've received the money in cash and I made it clear I received the money of Mr Shabalala, so I think it is that matter.

However, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said his recollection of Ngubane-Zulu's evidence was that the donation had come from Gaston Savoi, an entrepreneur who owned the Intaka group of companies, and that Ngubane told Mabuyakhulu the ANC had received a donation of R1 million from Savoi and not Shabalala.

But once again Mabuyakhulu denied receiving a donation that was linked to Savoi and denied having met Ngubani-Zulu.

"In the beginning of 2020 … there was a pending investigation that there were certain answers that needed to be provided. With regard to the question that the investigators were posing, it is then I met with Mr Wills.

"And therefore in our discussion with Mr Wills, I then indicated because those matters in my view would not have been administrative matters. And I say that relative to the evidence I've already given before this commission," he said.

READ | Instruction to step aside ‘well received’, says ANC’s KZN leadership

Mabuyakhulu added he could not recall when Shabalala committed to donating the money but presumed it was about two months before the conference.

He was allegedly asked by Ngubane-Zulu whether there was proof of the donation made or acknowledgment sent to the donor.

However, Mabuyakhulu said he told Ngubane that Delani Mzila was responsible for dealing with the ANC's finances in the province.

He added the commission had his statement on record that he received the money from Shabalala as indicated in his previous testimony, saying he did not issue any receipt in that regard.

So it would have not been possible for him to refer Ngubane-Zulu to Mzila, said Mabuyakhulu.

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