Zwane a traitor, Outa alleges

25 July 2017 - 06:38 By By GRAEME HOSKEN
Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane
Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane
Image: Supplied

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been accused of allowing the Gupta family to loot nearly R2-billion from South Africa's state coffers.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has laid charges of high treason, extortion, corruption, fraud and theft against Zwane.

The charges, contained in a 51-page affidavit, were made at Randburg police station by Outa chief operating officer Ben Theron.

If Zwane were convicted he would face at least 25 years in jail.

In his affidavit, Theron alleges that Zwane's conduct was treasonable "as it violated, threatened and endangered the existence, independence and security of South Africa, or had the effect or potential effect of changing the constitutional structure".

Zwane's spokesman, Ayanda Shezi, could not be reached for comment.

Theron claimed that Zwane had abused his position to promote the Vrede dairy project in the Free State, which involved a company called Estina and benefited the Gupta business empire at a cost to the Free State government of at least R183-million.

Outa also asserts: "He facilitated the sale of Optimum Coal Holdings assets to the Guptas and his department later authorised the release of the two mine rehabilitation trust funds linked to those mines - a total of nearly R1.8-billion - which apparently went into Gupta accounts at the Bank of Baroda.''

Theron said the corruption charge arose from contraventions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Asked his opinion on the chances of a criminal investigation going ahead, Francis Antonie, director of The Helen Suzman Foundation, said high treason would be difficult to prove.

He said the law enforcement agencies, including the National Prosecuting Authority, were compromised.

"I definitely do not believe that they are at the top of their game," he said.

Outa has also laid treason charges against Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi over her allegedly sharing confidential cabinet information about broadcasting policy with the Guptas.