South Africa

Politicians implicated in state capture – where they are now

Jacob Zuma

Numerous top politicians and ministers implicated in the Zondo Commission’s inquiry into state capture remain in powerful positions.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, better known as the Zondo Commission, ran from August 2018 until August 2021.

Hearings took place for over 400 days, with over 300 witness testimonies and 1,438 entities sharing their information.

The Commission revealed staggering levels of corruption, maladministration, lobbying, and kickbacks at state institutions.

Many state-owned companies were involved in state capture, including Transnet, Eskom, Denel, the SABC, South African Airways, and the South African Revenue Service.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo handed over five comprehensive state capture reports to President Cyril Ramaphosa between January and June 2022.

The full Zondo Report, with nearly 5,500 pages, provided conclusive evidence of widespread corruption involving the ruling party, politicians, and businesspeople.

It summarised over 8 million pages of documentary and 75,000 pages of transcribed oral evidence.

The Commission provided materials amounting to a petabyte of data, equivalent to roughly 500 billion pages of printed text on corruption, fraud, and related offences.

This material included affidavits, investigative reports, and other evidential material about state capture.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it provided additional impetus to rebuilding the rule of law after a very difficult period.

In January 2022, the NPA said it was ramping up the prosecution of those implicated in state capture, independent of undue influence.

To ensure good results, the NPA has created a dedicated Task Force coordinated at the highest levels within the organisation.

There were also promises of a dedicated court to handle state capture matters to ensure the speedy finalisation of cases and conviction-based asset recoveries.

The NPA and Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) said they were committed to ending impunity for high-level corruption and other crimes in South Africa.

“South Africans deserve to see justice being done for these heinous crimes. We will not rest until the rule of law once again lights our way in South Africa,” they said.

Fast forward 18 months, and the politicians and businesspeople implicated in state capture continue to live free and opulent lives.

Many implicated politicians remain in powerful positions, including some serving in Ramaphosa’s cabinet.

Earlier this year, the first state capture case resulted in the acquittal of the six accused because of shoddy work by the NPA.

The acting judge who discharged the case, Nompumelelo Gusha, scolded the NPA for failing to prove common purpose.

The South African government also failed in its extradition application for Gupta brothers Rajesh and Atul from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Many people and organisations slated the NPA and government that so little has been done to hold accountable people implicated in state capture.

Zondo even warned that parliamentary systems were not strong enough to avert another state capture project.

Last month, the NPA said it was expanding its capacity and expertise to prosecute highly complex corruption and state capture cases.

However, considering the past promises, many people are sceptical about seeing corrupt politicians and businesspeople in orange overalls.

Here is a look at where many of the prominent politicians implicated in state capture during the Zondo Commission find themselves today.

Jacob Zuma – Frontman for Zimbabwe carbon offset market

Several witnesses personally implicated former president Zuma Jacob in misconduct. He was accused of asking government officials to help the Gupta family in various dealings with the state.

Nhlanhla Nene said Zuma had scolded him for not finalising a R1.6 trillion nuclear deal with Russia. Barbara Hogan testified that Zuma had attempted to interfere in appointing chief executives at Transnet and Eskom.

Angelo Agrizzi testified that the Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson paid monthly R300,000 bribes to Zuma and that Watson had hoped to lobby Zuma to hire a new director at the NPA.

What he does now: Jacob Zuma recently represented Belarus at a Zimbabwe conference on the trade in African carbon credits. He is seen as a frontman for Africa’s carbon offset market.

Nomvula Mokonyane – Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC

Nomvula Mokonyane

Former Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was implicated in a number of allegations of corruption during the Commission.

Angelo Agrizzi said Mokonyane was paid R50,000 a month for years to protect Bosasa from law enforcement agencies and received numerous gifts from Bosasa.

What she does now: Nomvula Mokonyane is currently the First Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC.

Gwede Mantashe – Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

Former ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe was accused of receiving security installations at his three houses for no charge from Bosasa.

Zondo recommended that Mantashe should be probed for corruption.

What he does now: Gwede Mantashe is the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa.

Malusi Gigaba – No current prominent position

Malusi Gigaba

Former Minister Malusi Gigaba featured prominently in the state capture hearings and was accused of being a chief architect of state capture.

He allegedly exploited a Public Finance Management Act loophole to benefit selected contractors sanctioned by the Gupta Family network.

He was further accused of appointing key brokers of the state capture project to high-level positions at Transnet and Eskom for nefarious purposes.

The Commission also heard evidence that Gigaba had used public funds for personal purposes, including purchasing luxury goods such as clothing and watches.

Zondo recommended criminal charges against him.

What he does now: Malusi Gigaba does not currently have a prominent position.

Zizi Kodwa – Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture

Former Deputy Minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa was accused of benefitting from a corrupt relationship with former EOH executive Jehan Mackay.

Witnesses said Kodwa received over R2 million in payments and luxury accommodation from EOH while the company was bidding for government tenders.

Zondo recommended that Ramaphosa reconsiders the position of Kodwa in cabinet.

What he does now: Zizi Kodwa currently serves as the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture in South Africa.

Mosebenzi Zwane – MP and transport committee chairperson

Mosebenzi Zwane

Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was accused of assisting the Gupta family to loot nearly R2-billion via the Vrede Dairy Project and two mine rehabilitation funds.

He was also allegedly behind the Gupta family and their associates’ landing of their wedding guests at the Waterkoof Air Force Base in April 2013.

Zondo recommended that law enforcement agencies investigate Zwane and that they should be sued over his looting.

What he does now – Mosebenzi Zwane is currently a Member of Parliament (MP) and the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on transport.

Lynne Brown – No current prominent position

Source: World Economic Forum/Greg Beadle

Zondo placed former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown at the centre of state capture in Eskom and Denel, adding that she lied to the Commission.

He said Brown was a willing participant in the Guptas’ schemes to capture Denel and Eskom and elected board members to help the family steal millions.

What she does now: Lynne Brown does not currently have a prominent position.

Faith Muthambi – No current prominent position

Faith Muthambi

Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi was accused of emailing confidential government policy documents to one of the Gupta brothers.

Former government spokesperson Phumla Williams also testified that Muthambi wanted to steal at all costs, rendering the Government Communication and Information System nearly dysfunctional.

What she does now: Faith Muthambi does not currently have a prominent position.


Top JSE indices