Former KwaZulu-Natal ANC Treasurer Mike Mabuyakhulu. (Photo: Goh Seng Chong / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The beleaguered KwaZulu-Natal politician went on the offensive against the Zondo Commission on Tuesday night when he was able to cross-examine a key witness who accused him of receiving money for the ANC while he knew it was the product of fraudulent offers.
Mabuyakhulu was previously involved in the commission by Colonel Petrus du Plooy of the Durban Hawks and PwC Forensic Accountant Trevor White, for his role in obtaining a “donation” of one million rand of businessman Gaston Savoi and his company, Intaka Holdings, in 2008.
This was after the company landed massive contracts to supply water and oxygen purification plants to provincial hospitals and other departments.
The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) indicted Mabuyakhulu over the case in 2011, but those charges were ultimately dropped. However, nine other defendants are still awaiting trial, including Savoi and former Ithala Development Bank boss Sipho Shabalala.
Representing Mabuyakhulu, AJ “Spicko” Dickson SC used Tuesday night to question White in an effort to convince the commission that the evidence White relied on would not stand up to scrutiny.
“When you want to present a circumstantial case everything has to point in one direction, and if a lot of your circumstances collapse because people give up their evidence, then your theory is no longer valid. I’ll walk you through each of the pieces to show you that your evidence is wrong, ”Dickson said.
“I’m going to go through this… evidence that you rely on, but let’s be clear, this is not financial documents, it is evidence that other people are much better qualified than you to make. statements. “
In his previous testimony, Mabuyakhulu had gone to great lengths to present the commission with a different version of events on how the party received the R million donation. The donation is not in dispute.
According to White’s version, Savoi paid Shabalala over R 1.053 million through law firm Khobone and Shezi Attorneys.
The company made several payments to Shabalala’s creditors and Shabalala-controlled companies before a million rand was handed over, in cash, to the KZN ANC offices a week before the party’s provincial conference in 2008.
Mabuyakhulu was the treasurer of ANC KZN at the time.
White maintained that Mabuyakhulu knew the source of the donation, which was said to have been a bribe for Savoi receiving big government contracts.
In Mabuyakhulu’s version, Shabalala had been tasked with raising funds for the conference and had collected money from various donors. He maintains that the money was unrelated to Savoi’s payment to Shabalala.
Dickson said two witnesses White relied on had since changed their testimony.
He was referring to lawyer Sibusisiwe Zulu (née Ngubane), who testified before the committee on Monday, and former ANC finance director at KZN, Delani Mzila, who retracted his affidavit.
Zulu submitted an affidavit to the commission saying that when his company represented the ANC in 2009/10, as investigators began to probe the donation, Mabuyakhulu told him that the source was Savoi. However, during her presentation to the committee on Monday, she said either Mabuyakhulu or Mzila could have told her.
Mzila retracted an affidavit in which he said Mabuyakhulu informed him that the source of the money was Savoi. In his second affidavit, he said he had no knowledge of the source.
Questioning White about the money Shabalala received from Savoi, Dickson said it was clear that Shabalala had spent it on himself.
“What I see is that Mr. Shabalala is getting richer and paying his creditors.”
Dickson said the money Shabalala presented to the ANC could come from fundraising efforts.
White replied, “Anything is possible, but under the circumstances where everyone during the entire period of this investigation was talking about this specific R1 million, there is a lot of documentation out there explaining why I come to the conclusion that it is. is the same money. [from Savoi]. “
White said the claim that Mabuyakhulu did not know the source or told anyone about the source was false and was supported by an affidavit signed by the now suspended Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who was at then the provincial president of the ANC KZN.
In Mkhize’s affidavit, which is said to have been filed over ten years ago, he said: “I know that Mr. Shabalala asked Dr. Savoi to donate to the African National Congress and I also know that a Donation of R 1 million was received from Mr. Shabalala for the African National Congress. This realization is the consequence of a report I received from the then treasurer of the ANC KZN, Mr. Mabuyakhulu.
White said: “If you interpret English as it is written, there is no doubt that Dr Mkhize received information about this donation, and not about these donations, from Mr Mabuyakhulu.”
He said it was likely Mzila changed his affidavit when he realized what he was involved in.
Dickson said the analysis of the evidence is not whether one leads to the other, but whether, once all the facts are presented, a conclusive conclusion can be drawn.
“Mr. Mabuyakhulu gave long explanations [on what happened]. What to do is either gather questionable witnesses or listen [Mabuyakhulu] and accept his testimony. If you accept his testimony, it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Dickson asked.
There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle, White replied, pointing to a different version.
“In [Mabuyakhulu’s] version, there is not a single person who corroborates his version. No one else has ever seen that Million Rand, no one else has counted that Million Rand. Are we saying that the provincial treasurer would count it himself when he brought it to the office? No one has ever seen this money, ”White said.
Daily Maverick readers will recall that, in an unrelated case, Mabuyakhulu is one of 16 defendants, including seven companies, who would have defrauded the coffers of the province of about R 28 million by paying for a jazz festival that never materialized.
Mabuyakhulu is accused of having received a bribe of R300,000 in his private bank account, under the reference “Ndiyema” – his clan name.
It was this criminal case that led Mabuyakhulu to “step down” from his post as provincial vice-president of the ANC last month, in accordance with the party’s new national rules, pending the finalization of his criminal trial. DM
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This notice was published: 2021-06-23 09:25:48