Motlanthe linked to bribes?
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's romantic partner Gugu Mtshali has allegedly been linked to a scheme to ‘'buy” government approval for a plan to sell helicopters to Iran, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
Mtshali, former De Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga and others allegedly met with representatives of 360 Aviation to solicit a bribe of R104-million.
This was in an attempt to secure a R2-billion deal to allow a “front” company to supply US-made Bell helicopters and spare parts to the National Iranian Oil Company via South Africa, the newspaper reported.
Managing director of 360 Aviation Barry Oberholzer said: "We believe we were being asked [for] a bribe in exchange for [government] support".
Motlanthe said he was unaware that Mtshali had any connection to the company.
His spokesman, Thabo Masebe said: "He has at no stage discussed such a matter with any person, including the department of trade and industry".
Mtshali told the newspaper that she had never attended a "formal meeting" with 360 Aviation.
However, the Sunday Times claimed to have an audio recording of the meeting, on which Mtshali's voice was allegedly heard.
The alleged deal reportedly failed because 360 Aviation could not reach an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company.
The United States, which manufactures the Bell helicopters, prohibits the sale of military equipment to Iran.
This article appeared in iafrica.com on 11 March 2012.
Fraud, corruption accused re-elected by ANC
A man who was part of the council team that ran Msunduzi municipality in Pietermaritzburg into the ground, has bounced back as chairman of the Moses Mabhida ANC region (greater Pietermaritzburg), triggering fears that he may resume a key position in the municipality.
Alpha Shelembe was re-elected for the third time as chairman at the ANC regional conference in Howick on Sunday.
His re-election, amid some protests by those seeking a “clean ANC and Msunduzi municipality”, in effect places him in a powerful position to call the shots in a municipality recovering from fraud and corruption that left its coffers almost empty.
Shelembe – forced in 2011 to resign as deputy mayor and regional treasurer amid allegations of arson and corruption – beat Bheki Nzimande to clinch the position.
Both are said to be aligned to the ANC provincial chairman and KZN premier, Zweli Mkhize.
Shelembe is facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to the sale of a building in the uMgungundlovu district municipality at an inflated price in 2003.
The matter is to resume in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on June 19.
In 2011 Shelembe was accused of being behind a fire at the ANC’s offices in Pietermaritzburg. The charges against him in this case were withdrawn on November 4.
At one stage during the period when Shelembe was a speaker, the council’s coffers were so depleted that the municipality could keep going for only one month.
With two positions believed to be vacant in the Msunduzi council, some ANC insiders have suggested it is a matter of time before Shelembe is brought back to occupy a key position.
The DA’s caucus leader in Msunduzi, Bill Lambert, said the elections were an ANC matter and choice, but he did not expect Shelembe to be brought back on to the council.
“He was part of the scene that caused the collapse of Msunduzi. It is almost an impossibility that they could dream of bringing him back before the pending case is over,” said Lambert.
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and the Moses Mabhida region’s re-elected secretary, Super Zuma, were at pains to point out on Sunday that the re-election of Shelembe would not see Msunduzi councillors losing their positions.
“This gathering was discussing ANC matters, not council issues,” said Zikalala.
“Those elected here are ANC leaders in a party structures and the conference has nothing to do with those deployed in councils. There should be no concerns that some people in municipalities will be recalled.”
Zuma said the ANC region was happy with the progress in Msunduzi. There were clear signs of stability in the municipality.
“There is definitely no intention to recall those who are leading the municipality now,” said Zuma.
Former KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League chairman Mthandeni Dlungwana was elected deputy chairman and Mbali Myeni deputy secretary. Msunduzi councillor Thulani Xulu was elected treasurer.
This article was published in the Mecury on 12 March 2012.
Crisis in Mandela Bay
Mawande Jack Clandestine efforts are being made by prominent ANC figures to stem the rapid decline of the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.
A split, similar to the one that led to the formation of Cope, is feared as disillusionment among members spreads.
The campaign to restore the ANC’s image among the people of the region appears to be triggered by a decline in support for the party from 78% in 1994 to 51% in 2011, as reflected in last year’s elections results.
Former transport MEC Thobile Mhlahlo, former ANC regional chairperson Mike Xego and former regional leader and Walmer branch chairperson Themba Mangqase are the main drivers of the campaign.
They are lobbying Luthuli House to disband the ANC regional executive committee under Nceba Faku and to put in place a task team to ensure the election of regional leaders untainted by any factional virus.
“Our focus is bringing about political stability within the party. Factions are destroying the ANC. We are now talking about two centres of power, one ANC in Standard House and the other in the City Hall,” Mangqase said.
Corruption and fraud within the Mandela Bay municipality, where senior parties were implicated in the Kabuso forensic report, Mhlahlo said, has led to ANC “languishing in the political periphery”. The party is in the throes of factional infighting between a group led by Faku and the other, led by his deputy mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile.
Attempts are being made by the Faku group to remove Wayile, who has refused to take instructions from the ANC regional leadership. Alliance partners SACP and Cosatu are believed to be supporting Wayile.
So serious were the divisions within the ANC that the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League were disbanded in the area and are operating with interim structures. The ANC is expected to hold its elective regional conference by not later than May this year.
This article published in the New Age on 12 March 2012.
Cloud hangs over city manager
Ekurhuleni city manager Khaya Ngema came under fire at the March 1 council meeting from two political groups, questioning his alleged lack of transparency and involvement in fraud and wasteful expenditure.
Irasa chairman Izak Berg instigated an urgent motion against Ngema, seconded by Hennie van der Walt of the Freedom Front+, calling on Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele to act against Ngema for his alleged hand in the provision of work for suspended metro officials in consulting companies employed by the metro.
"This while it is alleged that they (contractors) cost the metro millions in fruitless and wasteful expenditure," says Berg. He adds that the “wheels are coming off in the metro” because of fraud and needless expenditure and that there “seems to be no will in the metro to stop it”.
"Millions are going to waste and where investigations are taking place, they are taking far too long to complete. The metro must realise that it is working with ratepayers' money, not their own, and this must stop now.
“Other pointers raised in Berg's motion include Ngema's alleged lack of disclosure of material facts, deemed available to Ngema and reasonably discoverable, which could influence decisions or actions of the council.
He also believes Ngema to be in contravention of his employment and performance contracts, as well as of his fiduciary duty to the metro. Mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini confirmed receipt of Berg's motion.
"With regards to the claims of fraud and corruption, the mayor and council have indicated on many occasions that such will find no room in the municipality. It was for this very reason that the metro resolved to rope in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to assist the internal audit unit of the metro," says Dlamini.
In a background information document accompanying Berg's motion, he claims that results of a previous investigation conducted by Ngema into the metro's future financial viability, started in October 2009, but is yet to be tabled before council.
"The city manager was mandated to conduct an investigation into payments made to Dehal Inc. and Advocate Dehal, to determine whether there were irregularities regarding the payments and provide a report to council within three months.
That was at the council meeting dated January 28, 2010," said Berg. Dlamini says that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the metro and the SIU. "The investigation is now at an advanced stage.
Police are also involved. Since March last year, the metro has worked closely with the SIU and the metro commits itself to fully cooperate with on-going investigations and render assistance where needed," says Dlamini.
He adds that the metro has a municipal public accounts committee, tasked with ensuring that due process is followed in the handling of public funds.
"We have full confidence in the team, but it must be understood that while we all wish for a speedy resolution of the issues of fraud and corruption, such sensitive investigations need thorough work so that perpetrators can be successfully prosecuted," said Dlamini.
He concludes his statement saying that the metro is happy with the work of the public accounts committee, as well as with the systems put in place to eliminate fraud and corruption. "The motion will go through the normal processes and, once concluded, a report will be presented at a council meeting," he said.
This article was published in the Springs Advertiser on 14 March 2012.