Zweli Mkhize dismisses rumours he accepted money from Free State asbestos accused

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Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Daily Sun
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize responded to rumours that he accepted money from an accused in the Free State asbestos case.
  • Edwin Sodi, who is one of seven accused, was said to have paid Mkhize R6.5 million.
  • Mkhize dismissed this - but said Sodi had donated money to the ANC in the past.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Friday dismissed suggestions that Edwin Sodi, who is accused in the Free State asbestos case, had paid him R6.5 million.

The state capture commission heard this week that the name "Zweli Mkhize" appeared as a reference for one such payment.

Sodi told the commission that Mkhize was the ANC's treasurer-general at the time of the payment and the money was specifically for the party, News24 reported.

Mkhize clarified on Friday that, during his time as treasurer-general, Sodi, either directly or indirectly, only made four donations to the ANC - two in 2014 and one each in 2015 and 2016. 

These were R3 million in February 2014, R3.5 million in April 2014, R1.5 million in September 2015 and R150 000 in January 2016.

READ | 7 accused in Free State asbestos case granted bail

Mkhize said the above payments were deposited directly into the ANC's official bank accounts.

"I wish to categorically state I have never received any funds from Sodi, either personally or through a third party intended for my personal benefit.

"I can confirm that during my tenure as the ANC treasurer-general, Sodi, just like many other business persons, companies and organisations, made donations to the ANC.

"In fact, when I took over as the [treasurer-general], Sodi's contacts were available in the ANC Donors' database as one of the people who had previously donated to the ANC.

Database

"This database was compiled and kept by the finance office through various public fundraising events that the ANC held. That is how we would contact people or companies and invite them to our events."

Mkhize said he could, therefore, only assume that his name was used by the donor as a reference "given my capacity at the time as the treasurer-general".

"Furthermore, I wish to emphasise that all the donations we received were voluntary, they were never transactional or linked to securing work from government." 

He said, besides noting Sodi as a donor, he had no personal, professional or business relationship with him.

"I have never been party to any of his business dealings nor have I interacted with him at a personal level," he said. 

Where unlawfulness and wrongdoing have been found, the law enforcement agencies should investigate, he added.

"Matters relating to Mr Sodi and his companies are now before the courts. This legal process should, therefore, be allowed to run its course without being muddied by mischief and misinformation that drag individuals' names, where there is no evidence," he said.

"I, for one, take serious exception to insinuations, irresponsible and false comments made by some that I personally received monies from Mr Sodi.

"This offensive sensationalism can only be a sideshow to taint my name and does not in any way add value to the work that the law enforcements are doing."

- Compiled by Kerushun Pillay and Jenna Verster 

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