Mkhize must appear before Zondo over claims he 'facilitated' Prasa kickbacks for ANC, says DA

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Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images
  • The DA wants the Zondo commission to summon Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to testify about allegations that State funds were used to bankroll the ANC.
  • Former rail agency boss Lucky Montana has reportedly accused Mkhize of facilitating payments to the ANC from a beneficiary of a R3.5 billion rail contract.
  • Angolan businesswoman Maria Gomes is also allegedly involved.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has been slapped with allegations that he, while ANC Treasurer General, facilitated payments to the ANC from a beneficiary of a R3.5 billion rail agency contract.

Former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) boss Lucky Montana has detailed claims to the Daily Maverick about alleged financial dealings involving the ANC, Mkhize, and Maria Gomes, an Angolan businesswoman who in 2013 and 2014 secured a R40 million slice of Prasa's infamous R3.5-billion "tall trains" contract.

The purchased trains are unsuitable for South Africa’s railways and have thus been dubbed "tall trains".

Montana claimed that he and Mkhize regularly met with Gomes at her house in Johannesburg in the period after Prasa had awarded the controversial locomotives contract to Swifambo Rail Leasing.

READ | Top government official tried to get Prasa to settle disputed contract, Zondo inquiry hears

Following the allegations, the DA has called on the Zondo Commission of Inquiry to summon Mkhize and testify about his alleged role in the matter.

One of Gomes’ companies, Similex, had received about R40 million from Swifambo.

It’s alleged that Mkhize, who was the ANC’s Treasurer General at the time of the purported meetings, provided Gomes with details of bank accounts into which she was asked to deposit money for the benefit of the governing party.

DA parliamentary chief whip Natasha Mazzone said Mkhize must testify to clear himself.

"That South Africa is being bled dry is no longer a shock to anybody. The extent of brazen involvement by ministers and senior politicians within the ANC is however very upsetting. The economic crisis, the rampant hunger and hopelessness, the rising joblessness and growing crime rates can all be directly linked to state capture and the rotten core of the ANC that is increasingly being exposed," she said.

READ ALSO | Zondo Commission is biased, a 'farce', says letter from ex-Prasa CEO Lucky Montana

She said, quoting the Daily Maverick, while Montana insists that he received assurances that these payments by Gomes and Swifambo director, Auswell Mashaba, were simply donations to the ANC and not kickbacks from the corrupt locomotive deal, "it is imperative that these allegations be investigated thoroughly, especially since there seem to be financial records that indicate the opposite".

Mazzone has also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to initiate an investigation into the allegations.

"After Covid-19-corruption became so obvious that President Cyril Ramaphosa could no longer ignore it, he claimed to have drawn a 'line in the sand' regarding corruption. If the President wants to be taken seriously at all, he must also ensure in this case that the necessary investigation is launched into the large-scale corruption in which his current Minister of Health was allegedly involved," she added.

She added that the country will sink in the wave of corruption if drastic action is not taken.

"Unless the corrupt are held to account and suffer the consequences of their actions, South Africa will continue to sink beneath the tsunami of crime and the once-proud rainbow nation will be nothing more than an Atlantean-legend."

Mkhize is yet to respond to the allegations.

Both the minister and the party failed to respond to the Daily Maverick for its report.

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