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Zizi Kodwa resigns as Minister after appearing in court on State Capture corruption charges

Written by on June 5, 2024

Sports, Arts, and Culture minister Zizi Kodwa has resigned amidst corruption charges involving alleged bribes and luxury perks totalling over R1.6-million.

Corruption accused Zizi Kodwa has stepped down as Sports, Arts and Culture minister with immediate effect following his first court appearance on Wednesday.

He and a businessman Jehan Mackay were arrested on charges in connection with State Capture and were released on R30,000 bail each in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Wednesday.

Kodwa’s spokesperson Litha Mpondwana confirmed on Wednesday that  Kodwa had resigned  as Minister with immediate effect, adding that he strongly denies the charges against him.

Kodwa was 25th on the ANC’s national list of members headed for parliament following the country’s elections on May 29.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the step-aside policy would kick in after Kodwa was formally charged. “We respect the rule of law,” she said. “There is really no question about that. All I can say is that we have noted that (the court appearance) and the step aside policy will kick in.”

It was Kodwa’s first court appearance in connection with corruption charges, alleging that he received R1.6-million in bribes between April 2015 and February 2016.

Mackay is a businessman and director of Tactical Software Systems (TSS) and former Senior Executive of Enterprise Outsourcing Holdings (EOH).

Brigadier Thandi Mbambo, the Hawks’ spokesperson, confirmed that two people were arrested on Wednesday morning in response to the Zondo Commission’s recommendations on State Capture.

According to state prosecutor Neville Mogagabe, the two were charged with violating the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca) and corruption. Mogagabe also told the court that the State would not oppose their release on bail.

Corruption allegations

In part four of the report from the State Capture Commission, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recommended President Cyril Ramaphosa “consider” Kodwa’s position in regard to the debts he owes to Mackay, who is accused of bribing politicians and paying donations to the ANC to win lucrative government contracts.

Zondo found that in 2015 and 2016 EOH entities and Mackay made cash payments totalling R1.68-million for Kodwa’s benefit, including a R1-million loan, which Kodwa used to buy a car, and hundreds of thousands spent on luxury accommodation. Mackay spent another R30,000 on Kodwa’s behalf.

Hence in April 2022, Zondo recommended that Ramaphosa ‘consider’ Kodwa’s job after finding he was financially beholden to EOH’s Jehan Mackay.

Kodwa, during his testimony at the Zondo Commission in June 2021 regarding his relationship with former Mackay, testified that he met Mackay in 2013 and the pair became friends.

In 2015, Mackay gave Kodwa R1-million and Kodwa used R890,000 of it to buy a Jeep vehicle. Kodwa, who was then the national ANC spokesperson and an NEC member, said he was struggling financially at the time.

“I confirm this was a loan from a friend and no strings attached. I obtained it at a time of financial difficulty and would not have been able to secure a bank loan,” Kodwa testified.

State Capture

It is the State’s contention that during the period from April 2015 to February 2016, when Kodwa was employed as the National Spokesperson of the African National Congress (ANC), he received direct payments and luxury accommodation worth over R1.6 million paid by and/or facilitated by Mackay as gratifications for his interventions in government procurement processes to advance the interests of Mackay, TSS and EOH.

Outlining the alleged corruption, NPA Regional Spokesperson-Gauteng Division, Johannesburg, Phindi Mjonondwane said: “In February 2015, the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), a State-owned company charged with the responsibility of IT services to the government, advertised a tender worth R360-million for the appointment of two separate service providers for the provision of platinum access service solution for the government for five years as SITA could not render the said service.

“Nine companies, including EOH, were shortlisted for the tender and communication between the two accused suggests that EOH was disqualified and that Mackay then approached Kodwa for his intervention which allegedly resulted in the tender being cancelled.”

Mjonondwane reiterated this case is part of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) response to the findings and recommendations of the State Capture inquiry.

“In trying to meet the demands emanating from the commission’s reports, the NPA established a joint task force in November 2022, comprising various law enforcement agencies like the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to ensure collaboration and a coordinated structure that is case driven.

“We continue to guide and monitor investigations in cases emanating from the commission’s reports to ensure that alleged perpetrators of State Capture face justice. This case builds on the dozens of enrolments of high-profile State Capture corruption matters and the convictions of hundreds of government officials for corruption over the past five years,” Mjonondwane added.

Bail arguments

Advocates JJ Smit and Zola Majavu for both Mackay and Kodwa read into record both their clients’ affidavits for bail. Both accused stated they were not a flight risk, would not evade the trial, not interfere with witnesses and it is in the interest of justice that they be released on bail.

Mogagabe also informed the court that the State would not oppose their release on bail.

Presiding judge Sheron Rantao released the pair on R30,000 bail each with the condition that they attend all court proceedings, not interfere with witnesses, and that if they wish to travel outside of the province, they must consult with the investigating officer.

The matter has been reprimanded until 23 July 2024, during which time the State will provide the defence with a copy of the docket so that consultations can be held and instructions from their respective clients taken.

The post Zizi Kodwa resigns as Minister after appearing in court on State Capture corruption charges appeared first on The Namibian.

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