South Africa, stand up to Mosebenzi Zwane
23 January 2020
This is the man who brought us the Vrede dairy farm debacle, the Waterkloof landing and an attempt to capture some of the R1.7bn in mine rehabilitation funds. He should be facing charges of corruption and treason.
Why would anybody listen to Mosebenzi Zwane?
Zwane is reported to be leading the charge in the ANC NEC to get rid of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Last week, OUTA joined the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and other organisations and endorsed the call by ANC veterans to be aware that the onslaught against Gordhan is being run by those implicated in state capture.
“Since 2012 there has been a golden thread that attaches Zwane to the Guptas,” says RudieHeyneke, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager on State Capture. “OUTA believes that Zwane had an improper and corrupt relationship with the Guptas, to the detriment of South Africa. We believed that he abandoned oath of office and abused his public office as an MEC in the Free State Province, as an MP and as Minister of Mineral Resources to enrich the Gupta family and their business associates."
OUTA believes Zwane should be facing criminal charges instead of being an MP on a publicly funded salary. He chairs the Portfolio Committee on Transport, which is a powerful position.
In August 2017, OUTA laid charges arising from state capture against Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas. Zwane was among those named in OUTA’s affidavit detailing the case against the group. This case is still open.
In October 2017, OUTA submitted a complaint to the parliamentary Ethics Committee about Zwane.
In April 2018, OUTA won a legal settlement which stopped R1.7 billion in mine rehabilitation funds from moving into Gupta control at the Bank of Baroda. These funds, held in trust to pay for mine rehabilitation so the state and taxpayers do not have to fund this, were supposed to have been secured by Zwane, who was then the Minister of Mineral Resources. He failed to protect these funds, so OUTA had to go to court to do this.
In May 2018, OUTA made a submission to the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, on Zwane’s activities.
In October 2019, OUTA made a referral about Zwane to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in terms of section 27 of the NPA Act, calling for investigations into possible charges of corruption, extortion, fraud and treason. OUTA’s referral included a 65-page affidavit outlining the allegations against Zwane backed up by a bundle of 57 annexures.
Here’s a reminder of Zwane’s activities
In June 2012, as MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Free State Province, Zwane promoted the establishment of the Vrede dairy project with Estina, which cost the province at least R220 million. The Guptas were intimately involved in the project and were beneficiaries of it. You’ve heard about this matter from the #GuptaLeaks and at the State Capture Commission. The supposed beneficiaries got nothing.
In October 2012, shortly after the launch of the Vrede dairy project, Zwane and his local gospel choir were gifted, by the Guptas, an all-expenses-paid trip to India.
In March 2013, Zwane’s office arranged an official invitation for one of the guests at the infamous Gupta wedding, which facilitated the landing of the Gupta flight at Waterkloof Air Force Base. Zwane also attended the wedding at Sun City.
In July 2013, the Guptas gave Zwane a lift by helicopter from Grand Central Airport in Midrand to Harrismith.
Tony Gupta’s diary shows that between September 2012 and January 2014, Zwane visited the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound at least nine times.
In September 2014, the Guptas paid for Zwane to travel to Dubai and stay in plush hotels.
Also in September 2014, Zwane accompanied Tony Gupta and Essa on a trip to Switzerland. All expenses were paid by the Guptas.
In July 2015, Free State businessman France Oupa Mokoena, who was part of the Vrede dairy farm project, e-mailed a copy of Zwane’s CV to Tony Gupta. This appears to have enabled the Guptas to vet Zwane as a ministerial candidate.
In early September 2015, Zwane was quietly moved from his MEC position to be sworn in as an MP in parliament. Before the end of the month, President Zuma had appointed Zwane as Minister of Mineral Resources, although he had no relevant experience or qualifications.
In December 2015, Zwane flew to Switzerland to meet with Glencore’s CEO, in the company of Tony Gupta and Essa, to influence Glencore into selling its Optimum Coal Mine to Tegeta Exploration & Resources. Tegeta was owned by the Guptas, Essa and Duduzane Zuma and sold coal to Eskom. The Public Protector concluded that the contracts appeared to benefit only the shareholders of Tegeta.
In December 2015, the Guptas facilitated medical treatment for Zwane at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, India. He was flown there in the Guptas' private jet ZS-OAK.
In May and June 2016, Zwane’s Department of Mineral Resources authorised the release of R150 million from the Koornfontein Mine’s R284 million rehabilitation trust fund, ostensibly for concurrent rehabilitation which was not allowed in terms of the law or the trust. This resulted in OUTA's court action to block the trustees from abusing the funds.
As Minister of Mineral Resources, Zwane appointed known Gupta associates Kuben Moodley and Malcolm Mabaso as his advisors.
In September 2016, Zwane rewarded his friend Mokoena – who’d sent the Guptas his CV - with an appointment as a board member of the State Diamond Trader.
As minister, Zwane was assisted in his public and media statements by Gupta family members and associates, including Nazeem Howa, Tony Gupta, Duduzane Zuma and the Gupta-hired PR firm, Bell Pottinger.
In April 2016, President Zuma appointed Zwane to chair an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the closure of the Guptas’ South African bank accounts. The banks accused Zwane of abusing this position by trying to influence them to keep their Gupta-held accounts open. Even though Zwane misrepresented Cabinet by publicly announcing that Cabinet endorsed the IMC findings regarding the closure of the Gupta accounts, he retained his Cabinet position.
Issued by Rudie Heyneke, OUTA Portfolio Manager for State Capture, 23 January 2020