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Johannesburg – One of the country’s prominent lawyers, Vuyani Ngalwana SC, has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa and others who served in the cabinet of former President Jacob Zuma to appear before the Zondo Commission and accept their alleged roles in corruption and state imprisonment to explain.
In a 10-page formal question to the commission this week, Ngalwana blew up the manner in which witnesses were selected, stating that it excluded relevant individuals such as cabinet members who served under Zuma between 2009 and 2018 were.
The acting judge of the North Gauteng High Court arrives weeks after Zuma’s attorney Muzi Sikhakhane accused Zondo of the bias and dismissed the commission as a political tool to destroy and humiliate the former president.
Ngalwana alleged that he made the motion under Rule 9.1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Detention, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector, Including State Organs, and said the entire cabinet should be consulted about its role in the Cabinet alleged corruption under Zuma.
The former chairman of the SA Bar Association’s General Council accused Ramaphosa of failing to assume responsibility for governance errors in state-owned companies, despite being appointed chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on state-owned companies in 2016.
“Many state-owned companies are, according to the government, in financial and state chaos and, according to media reports, characterized by corruption, with offers being submitted with considerable amounts of money.
“Certainly the President can now be asked by the Commission to explain his role in decimating state-owned companies, particularly as regards his interventions to stabilize and reform those companies during his tenure as chairman of Zuma’s IMC for State-Owned Companies, and where after his Assessment of the failures and successes of his efforts lie, “said Ngalwana.
He insisted that Ramaphosa appear before Judge Zondo to clarify, among other things, allegations that some of the donors who funded his successful 2017 ANC presidential campaign, CR17, were later rewarded with government contracts and appointments to the boards of state companies.
“Are these claims true or false? Will a mere denial of these allegations be enough for the Commission? Documents that could potentially serve as evidence for those involved in the presidential election campaign are protected from public scrutiny by court order.
“I have been informed that this decision has been challenged in court and that papers have already been prepared.
“But isn’t the Commission asking for this evidence to convince itself that these disturbing allegations are not true?”
Ramaphosa’s spokesman Tyrone Seale said on Friday: “The President has repeatedly and on public platforms declared his willingness to testify before the Commission.”
Commission spokesman Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela said he would handle the Sunday Independent investigation and return. However, he did not succeed.
Ngalwana went on to say the commission should also investigate whether Ramaphosa and members of the current and past national executive branches, including deputy ministers, have breached the constitution by facilitating the illegal launch of bids by state-owned companies in favor of the Gupta family.
“The nature and extent of corruption in the award of contracts and tenders to companies, business units and organizations by government departments, agencies and companies.
In particular, whether a member of the national executive (including the President), a civil servant, an official or a state body influenced the making of offers for the benefit of themselves, their families or institutions in which they had a personal interest. “
On Friday, Ngalwana told the Sunday Independent that, as a concerned citizen, he was motivated by the constitution and the promotion of participatory democracy to demand the appearance of Ramaphosa and the previous Zuma cabinet before the Zondo Commission.
Among those listed by Ngalwana were:
* Ramaphosa, who was Zuma’s deputy between 2014 and 2018;
* Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy Zuma from 2009 to 2014;
* Minister for Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, who was Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2014 and from 2015 to 2017;
* Lungile Fuzile, who was Director General of the National Ministry of Finance from 2011 to 2017;
* Dondo Mogajane, who worked for many years as a senior executive in the National Treasury and has been General Director since 2017;
* Eskom’s entire board of directors, including its chairman.
Most of the people mentioned in Ngalwana’s letter either did not respond to the questions sent or could not be reached for comment.
Gordhan’s spokesman Richard Mantu asked to have the questions sent to his email but did not respond.
Motlanthe’s phone was off while his personal assistant at the Motlanthe Foundation, Lerato Zimbili’s phone, rang unanswered yesterday. Neither of them responded to text messages, emails and WhatsApp messages that were sent.
Ngalwana said there are serious questions that Zuma-era cabinet members should be asked to answer.
“There are numerous others that have been featured in the public media, most recently an interview with former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana on the YouTube channel #TheInsightFactor,” he said, adding that Montana is detailing allegations of corruption, the executive officer of imply the current cabinet and board members.
“He (Montana) says he presented a detailed statement to the commission. I believe that it is the duty of this commission to investigate these grave allegations and determine whether they are true or falsehood. I ask the Commission to take into account the detailed statement that Mr Montana made to the Commission and his serious allegations in this interview, which is in the public domain and easily accessible on Youtube, ”added Ngalwana.
He said he was hoping the commission had called Ramaphosa and those who were now Zuma’s cabinet.
“It seems pretty certain that the commission has no intention of calling all members of the Zuma cabinet to shed light on the alleged state detention. I estimate that the commission has limited time to complete its work by March 31, 2021 and that it may not be possible to obtain the evidence from all of these individuals and evaluate it in time before the commission final report is due The due date for submission to the Commission is President, who ironically is one of the people who should be interviewed.
“But in terms of respect, it is up to the commission to make decisions about which witnesses to summon and to leave out who I believe are clearly relevant witnesses capable of shedding light on the alleged state arrest during their time to throw Zuma’s cabinet and senior official positions in state organs, ”added Ngalwana.
In 2018, prosecutor asked Ramaphosa to appear before the commission to explain why he allowed the alleged state arrest to spread while serving as Zuma’s deputy.
Ramaphosa did not appear before the commission despite claiming he was ready to testify.
The political scientist Dr. Metji Makgoba said Ngalwana’s request was a good approach for political reasons.
“It shows us that many of these cabinet ministers have dirty hands and, in one way or another, could be directly involved in corrupt activity and will show the nation how the ANC is contaminated by political termites,” he said.
“Extending this commission to include all cabinet ministers under Zuma could offer a broader political perspective that shows the complexity and cultural nature of corruption in South Africa.”